Multipurpose carriers face increased competition from container ships and bulk carriers, both of which are beset with overcapacity and low rates. Meanwhile, breakbulk/project demand is suffering from the decline in commodity prices caused by China’s reduced appetite for commodities and by a global oversupply of oil and gas.

Though heavy-lift and other shipments continue for projects already under way, other large mining and petrochemical projects have been postponed until the market’s direction becomes more clear. Volatile trade conditions also are reflected in declining shipments of steel and other industrial commodities. Other headwinds include increased near-sourcing for oversized shipments such as windmills for electric generation.

The shift of commodities such as cotton and coffee from breakbulk to containers has largely run its course. But other breakbulk and project cargos continues to move on multipurpose vessels, and many of the movements are becoming more complex, and require additional planning, expertise and equipment. Breakbulk/project cargo remains a dynamic market.

News & Analysis

21 May 2019
Carriers long busy with Asian and European offshore wind installations see strong potential in the United States emerging offshore market.
21 May 2019
The automotive trade is waiting with bated breath for any tariffs coming out of the US Commerce Department’s investigation into the potential national security implications of imports of vehicles and parts.
20 May 2019
Higher tariffs and slowing manufacturing growth are among the factors weighing on heavy machinery demand.
20 May 2019
Despite NIMBY friction and logistics challenges, offshore installations are expected to take off.
16 May 2019
Module growth and oil and gas investment are signaling improvement for the super-heavy cargo niche, but a surplus of vessel supply is still weighing on the market.
13 May 2019
The annual training “rodeo” held at the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore teaches longshoremen and women how to properly handle rolling stock.
07 May 2019
Ulrich Ulrichs, former CEO of Rickmers-Linie, which has since been absorbed by Zeaborn, will become CEO at BBC Chartering following a transition period.
01 May 2019
Low Russian GDP growth, a slowdown in industrial investment, and foreign sanctions could hamstring the out-of-gauge cargo sector after several years of growth.
30 Apr 2019
The growing size of oversize and overweight shipments makes transport to inland destinations more complex, increasing the need for cross-modal collaboration.
30 Apr 2019
The car carrier’s new roll-on/roll-off vessels have capacity for 8,000 vehicles as well as lower fuel consumption and emission levels than their predecessors.
29 Apr 2019
The acquisition of developer Deepwater Wind has netted Copenhagen-based Orsted a portfolio of wind farm projects off the coasts of Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maryland, and New York.
26 Apr 2019
Despite a bearish short-term outlook for the multipurpose and heavy-lift (MPV/HL) market, Toepfer Transport says underlying trends still portray an improving market in the long term.
24 Apr 2019
A new joint venture between Wallenius Lines and Swedish Orient Lines (SOL) has ordered LNG-fueled newbuildings intended to serve paper product and breakbulk shippers.
18 Apr 2019
Pending antitrust approval, Zeaborn Group will take full ownership of the Zeamarine joint venture, consisting of Zeaborn Chartering, Rickmers Line, and Intermarine, after buying out New Mountain Capital’s interest.
17 Apr 2019
The latest multipurpose/heavy-lift sector forecast from Drewry projects a decent year ahead but slowing growth in the longer term.
16 Apr 2019
Heavy-lift carrier AAL recently moved two tunnel-boring machines, essential equipment for major metro rail projects, from Nansha, China, to Sydney and Melbourne, Australia.
12 Apr 2019
Signaling an improving market, United Heavy Lift adds Bonnesen and Monsted to its executive roster.
11 Apr 2019
Carriers continue to consolidate the multipurpose/heavy-lift (MPV/HL) fleet in the wake of Hansa Heavy Lift’s untimely exit.
11 Apr 2019
Tariffs on US automobile and parts imports, and resulting retaliatory duties on US exports, threaten an already cooling auto market.
10 Apr 2019
Roll-on/roll-off carriers see potential in the breakbulk and high and heavy markets despite potential geopolitical snags.
10 Apr 2019
Russian Railways Logistics recently completed the delivery of oversized steam chambers for a new concrete plant in Russia’s Ulyanovsk region.
Janet Nodar, senior editor, breakbulk and heavy lift, JOC
05 Apr 2019
Janet Nodar, senior editor, bre
01 Apr 2019
Global supply chain consultant Dennis Mottola sat down with to talk about what’s changed over the course of his 45-year career in project logistics and what hasn’t.
26 Mar 2019
Low water levels and a lack of maintenance could hamstring river transport of Russian heavy and out-of-gauge cargo during the narrow seasonal window for such shipments.
21 Mar 2019
Svend Andersen, CEO of BBC Chartering, tells that despite an improving market, the multipurpose and heavy-lift (MPV/HL) sector remains under pressure from overcapacity and rising regulatory costs.
Janet Nodar, senior editor
19 Mar 2019
Janet Nodar, senior editor, breakbulk and heavy
14 Mar 2019
Slowing global growth and the US-China trade war are dampening the outlook for long-term investment in US project construction, shifting capital toward emerging markets.
13 Mar 2019
Strict schedules, predictable routes and prices, and commoditized handling have long made liner services attractive to breakbulk shippers, but project cargoes are a different story altogether.
12 Mar 2019
When demand is high, container and ro-ro carriers tend to stay in their own cargo “lanes,” but in leaner times, competition for project and breakbulk freight intensifies.
08 Mar 2019
Megaproject logistics, which often involves moving huge pieces of equipment through remote ports, brings with it a unique set of risks and challenges that traditional liner carriers simply aren't equipped to handle.
06 Mar 2019
Faced with risks both new and familiar in 2019, refrigerated cargo carriers are focusing on collaboration and technology to improve and expand service.
05 Mar 2019
Brunswick port forms an integral link in Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia’s supply chain, handling both incoming components and finished vehicles for export.
27 Feb 2019
Despite a monthly decline, daily charter rates for for MPV/HL vessels remain above last year's levels and the general outlook for the sector is bright, Hannes Hollaender, managing director at Toepfer Transport, tells
26 Feb 2019
A sunny climate and pro-wind and solar policies have contributed to a boom in renewable energy development in Australia, but the country’s power grid has struggled to adapt, prompting concern from the government.
20 Feb 2019
Despite a recent uptick in activity in the oil and gas industry, SAL Heavy Lift tells any new vessels must be versatile enough to handle multiple types of cargo.
13 Feb 2019
The multipurpose/heavy lift market continues to struggle with overcapacity, weak demand, and increased competition for breakbulk and project cargo from the bulk, ro-ro, and container sectors.