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

01 Apr 2020
Cosco delivered a 3,700-mt bridge to Sweden even as the oil price crash hamstrings the spot market for the heavy transport sector.
30 Mar 2020
Forwarders are scrambling to preserve project schedules even as transport capacity, equipment availability, and personnel are affected by efforts to control the spread of coronavirus.
30 Mar 2020
Torbjørn Wist will be leaving SAS to join the ro-ro carrier Wallenius Wilhelmsen group, now grappling with the effects of COVID-19 as automotive production and demand wither globally.
30 Mar 2020
With information on ISPM 15 violations still difficult to come by, shippers are investigating and educating wood packaging materials (WPM) makers, increasing requirements for heat treatments, and turning to non-WPM materials for dunnage.
27 Mar 2020
COVID-19 and sliding oil prices add up to a "double whammy" for forwarders specializing in project cargo, as transport capacity shrinks near-term and planned energy projects are undermined.
26 Mar 2020
With little cargo to transport amid the COVID-19 pandemic, carriers are reviewing schedules and service networks and angling for substitute cargoes.
23 Mar 2020
Global car and roll-on, roll-off (ro-ro) carrier Wallenius Wilhelmsen Group is laying up ships and sending others to the scrap yard to preserve cash and liquidity as the spread of coronavirus causes automotive production to shut down worldwide.
23 Mar 2020
The Exporter’s Competitive Maritime Council (ECMC) newest committee will focus on safety in project transport logistics and on project sites.
13 Mar 2020
Following recent guidance from health officials and in light of the rapid growth in global cases of COVID-19 over the past few days, as well as increasing travel restrictions and other circumstances, IHS Markit has canceled the Breakbulk & Project Cargo Conference scheduled for April 27–29, 2020.
11 Mar 2020
As export markets in China thaw following the reopening of manufacturing facilities closed due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), project owners face short-term vessel shortages and carriers fear a potential drop in demand due to falling oil prices.
11 Mar 2020
South Dakota, Illinois, and Virginia are among the US states at the head of the pack in terms of automating route analysis and permit issuance for oversized cargo moves.
10 Mar 2020
Because there is no national permitting standard for moving oversized loads across the US, obtaining permits can be an expensive, time-consuming process for trucking operators, or it can be a breeze.
06 Mar 2020
Dutch heavy transport carrier Roll Group is looking to take advantage of the growing Asian offshore decommissioning and fabrication markets with a new facility at Bintan Island.
28 Feb 2020
Multipurpose carrier G2 Ocean is expanding in Africa and Asia to support the joint venture company’s quest to double project cargo’s contribution to annual revenues.
27 Feb 2020
Project cargo bound for industrial projects is trapped in China due to measures to control coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), triggering project delays and endangering a normally reliable cargo market.
26 Feb 2020
A new $38 million berth will boost Port Canaveral's capacity for handling breakbulk cargo, including cargo bound for the space industry.
25 Feb 2020
Retired executive and ex-Wilhelmsen group board chair Wilhelm Wilhemsen, fourth generation to run the family business, has died at age 82.
19 Feb 2020
MPV/HL carrier Zeamarine files for insolvency in Bremen court as the Zea Gold is arrested for bunkers on board.
13 Feb 2020
Within just a few days in early December, Bremen-based multipurpose/heavy-lift (MPV/HL) carrier Zeamarine saw the sudden departure of founder Jan-Hendrik Többe and CCO Dominik Stehle, prompting the firm to bring in restructuring expert Sven Lundehn.
13 Feb 2020
Charterer's legal liability insurance is intended to cover the potential legal liabilities and costs of defending or reimbursing a ship's owner, cargo owner, or other damaged party for incidents during the charter period.
For JOC, breakbulk is in our DNA
12 Feb 2020
The Journal of Commerce's 2020 Breakbulk and Project Cargo Conference will continue to build on the spirit of the original event as a content-led, high-level information sharing and networking gathering for the industry.
12 Feb 2020
Stringent environmental regulations require biosecure conditions before ships and cargo can call South Georgia and the Antarctic.
10 Feb 2020
Evolution continues in the MPV/HL fleet as AAL adds a global semi-liner service and an ex-Zeamarine executive plans a new US Gulf breakbulk service.
Intermarine brand resurrected in Zeamarine restructuring
30 Jan 2020
Richard Seeg has been named CEO of the newly-revived Intermarine brand, which will operate the Americas Line project and breakbulk cargo service out of Houston and New Orleans.
29 Jan 2020
Wind turbine maker Vestas, citing the growing complexities of moving special project cargo, has linked with DSV Panalpina in an attempt to “scale [its] business efficiently.”
29 Jan 2020
Officials say the funding will help complete the Oregon river port’s partially finished breakbulk terminal and expedite project cargoes for two ambitious wind energy projects in the state.
28 Jan 2020
Wind developer Ørsted and the Virginia Port Authority will develop an offshore wind terminal at Portsmouth, enabling Ørsted to service planned projects throughout the Northeast.
28 Jan 2020
US ports are expanding their ro-ro capacity as they look for a competitive edge, betting on growth despite tariff threats.
27 Jan 2020
Some US ports handling “high and heavy” equipment reported seeing minimal impact from the US-China trade war last year, while others said they had been considerably affected.
Port of Mobile, ro-ro partners commit to new terminal
24 Jan 2020
Grupo Murchison and Neltume Ports have formed a joint venture to operate the Port of Mobile’s new ro-ro terminal, expected to open in early 2021.
24 Jan 2020
Port of New Orleans Commercial Director Janine Mansour joins JOC's Janet Nodar to announce the return of the Breakbulk an
22 Jan 2020
Zeamarine sheds its most modern ships as United Group strengthens its position in a slowly improving market.
21 Jan 2020
Economic uncertainty eases, but overcapacity and changes in fleet makeup continue to pressure the MPV/HL sector.
17 Jan 2020
German super-heavy carrier SAL announces C-suite additions and a digitization push as the outlook for 2020 stabilizes.
10 Jan 2020
With its acquisition of ALE complete, Mammoet will own the world's largest fleet of heavy lifting and transport equipment, outstripping global competitors Sarens and Fagioli.
07 Jan 2020
The Port of Duluth-Superior sees growth opportunities in wind, breakbulk, and project cargo, and is investing heavily in Clure Terminal.