Breakbulk

Breakbulk

Breakbulk and its glamorous subset, project cargo, remain a dynamic shipping segment, and the multipurpose and heavylift (MPV/HL) carriers that serve it are just beginning to recover from chronic overcapacity and a decade of doldrums.

Breakbulk cargo has been defined as ‘whatever is left over’ after the bulk and container ships are full. While the shift of commodities such as cotton and coffee from breakbulk into containers has largely run its course, other breakbulk and project cargos continue to move on MPV/HL vessels. Not every shipment of breakbulk cargo involves a complex mega-project or thousands of freight tons that require full charters and heavy-lift capacity. Many of these movements are very complex, and require additional planning, expertise and equipment. Project cargo shippers often work closely with carriers’ engineering teams to create transport plans.Simple breakbulk cargoes can often shift shipping modes fairly seamlessly. Steel, for example, flows from breakbulk to bulk carriers to, for some forms of steel, roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro) and container transport. The preferred mode will depend on volumes, prices, schedules and demand. Container and ro-ro services offers shippers fixed schedules, predictable routes and prices, and more commoditized handling, simplifying the equation – but only when it makes sense for the cargo.

News & Analysis

23 Nov 2020
The European Commission's Green Deal will add 288 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind capacity to Europe's grid by 2050, along with 40 GW in tidal and floating solar energy generation.
25 Jul 2016
ALE this month used a specially designed skidding system to load a 30,000-ton jack-up drilling rig onto a barge.
22 Jul 2016
Project cargo officials say spending on power generation, infrastructure and oilfield equipment will bolster gradual increases in cargo flow during the next few years.
Employees of the Brazilian customs agency, pictured, are pressuring interim President Michel Temer to live up to the promises of his predecessor, and in the process are threatening to gridlock essential customs functions during the Olympics.
21 Jul 2016
Brazilian shippers are suffering from a double whammy of industrial action this week.
Jeff Theobald will lead the Port of Philadelphia, pictured, as it develops an area known as Southport on the former Philadelphia Navy Yard.
21 Jul 2016
The Port of Philadelphia has appointed a new CEO.
Construction workers in India will have plenty to keep them busy as the government pours billions into the ports sector to increase capacity and productivity under the Sagar Mala program.
21 Jul 2016
India on Wednesday approved the formation of Sagarmala Development Company, to coordinate and implement the mammoth Sagar Mala port development program.
21 Jul 2016
The merger of Germany’s Siemens and Spain’s Gamesa is the latest in a series of mergers and acquisitions in a sector that has become a top source of project cargo shipments — wind energy.
19 Jul 2016
CSX Transportation and the state’s port authority on Tuesday detailed two new projects there aimed at fueling more cargo through the ocean gateway and onto the rails, and vice versa.
The terminals overseen by the Itajai Port Authority, pictured, are in desperate need of emergency dredging that was promised by the government but has failed to materialize.
19 Jul 2016
Shippers using the container terminals overseen by the Itajai Port Authority are livid with the government of Brazil.
News that the recently merged China Cosco Shipping would honor existing contracts until the Ocean Alliance takes effect follow industry rumors of mass shipper desertions from the company's constituent carriers, Cosco Container Lines and China Shipping Container Lines
19 Jul 2016
China Cosco Shipping says all its shipper contracts are safe until the new Ocean Alliance kicks off next year.
18 Jul 2016
Trucks slowed to a crawl, and stopped entirely, creating an extensive traffic snarl at the Port of New York and New Jersey at lunchtime Monday.
17 Jul 2016
Pressure for mergers and acquisitions in the breakbulk sector has increased since mid-2015, as cargo volumes, rates and vessel earnings have plunged.
16 Jul 2016
Facing weakness in their core markets, container and dry bulk carriers are pitching hard for multipurpose vessels’ traditional cargoes.
14 Jul 2016
The number of mega-ships calling at the port jumped by 66 percent.
13 Jul 2016
The first steps were taken Tuesday toward development of a new zero-emission terminal at the Port of Los Angeles.
Wind farms like the one pictured are critical to the success of project cargo carriers.
12 Jul 2016
Nine offshore wind farm developers and the Scottish government will fund a study aimed at bringing the costs of wind energy closer to those of other sources of electricity.
11 Jul 2016
The purchase would boost the Australian presence of the parent company of China’s leading state-owned terminal operator, China Merchants Holdings (International).
06 Jul 2016
The Department of Transportation plans to award 18 grants totaling $600 million to 16 states via the Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects program.
06 Jul 2016
A joint venture will seek customers for a planned eastern version of Prince Rupert.
04 Jul 2016
With next month’s summer Olympics a disaster long before the torch is lit, and with political and economic upheaval swirling, South America’s biggest economy is in the midst of one of its deepest recessions.
01 Jul 2016
A new market friendly government in Brazil is keen to get U.S. investment for infrastructure.
27 Jun 2016
Berth congestion at the Port of Yangon has eased, but congestion in container yards remains a serious problem.
Port of Chittagong
27 Jun 2016
Shippers and ocean carriers using Bangladesh’s main gateway port of Chittagong have been battling heavy congestion for the past few weeks.
27 Jun 2016
Cosco Shipping Panama on Sunday made the first commercial transit of the Panama Canal’s new locks.
25 Jun 2016
The larger locks of the Panama Canal open on Sunday, but what impact will they have on global trade and container shipping?
20 Jun 2016
Heavy-lift carrier says its  offshore barges will support turnkey services
17 Jun 2016
Norway-based breakbulk and dry-bulk carrier Grieg Star has completed a senior debt refinancing.
15 Jun 2016
South Africa plans to invest billions in its ports to meet rising demand.
10 Jun 2016
It sounds counterintuitive, but today’s depressed market for multipurpose ships offers buying opportunities.
A new automobile shipping processing operation will open at a site adjacent to the Port of Baltimore
07 Jun 2016
A new automobile shipping processing operation will open at a site adjacent to the Port of Baltimore.
07 Jun 2016
DP World won a concession to develop a new port in Ecuador.
06 Jun 2016
New York state plans a potentially “game-changing” bid on a federal lease to develop an Atlantic Ocean wind farm.
03 Jun 2016
Maersk Line and Russian aluminum producing giant Rusal have signed a three-year deal for the transportation of thousands of TEUs annually.
02 Jun 2016
Siemens has awarded a four-year contract to heavy-lift specialist ALE.
President Ahmed Mohamed Mahamoud (left) and DP World Chairman and CEO Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem.
02 Jun 2016
DP World has signed a “term sheet” with the government of Somaliland to invest hundreds of millions of dollars.
01 Jun 2016
Hamburg-based Rickmers-Linie will take over the multipurpose heavy-lift fleet of Nordana Project & Chartering.