Breakbulk

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

A heavy lift ship.
10 Dec 2018
Both clauses are designed to be "simple and practical" and ease the global fleet's Jan. 1, 2020 transition to a low-sulfur fuel era, BIMCO said.
Dominik Stehle, Zeamarine.
01 Nov 2018
Effective in February, Stehle will focus on business development, key accounts, and managing large projects, as well as supporting organizational restructuring efforts that began earlier in 2018.
Kai Von Taube, Zeamarine.
29 Oct 2018
Von Taube will assume the role of director, Zeamarine, during the fourth quarter of 2018, taking over responsibilities from Irich Ulrichs, including Zeamarine's tramp and liner services.
Breakbulk Americas Conference 2018 in Houston.
26 Oct 2018
"The amount [of risk] is up,” said Pat Roche, vice president, project and energy services, Expeditors, a freight forwarding company. “EPC [engineering, procurement, and construction] contracts are evolving.” Elements that have become more open-ended include execution of performance bonds, cargo lien waivers, and indemnification clauses, he said.
A heavy-lift ship.
22 Oct 2018
Factors pushing up the rate included a rising oil price, slightly shrinking capacity in the MPV/HL sector (especially toward the high-end sector), and uncertainty across the global fleet regarding IMO 2020.
Houston skyline from the Port of Houston.
22 Oct 2018
The breakbulk and project cargo transport and logistics community raised approximately $60,000 earlier this month in Houston for the Maritime Emergency Workers Medical Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping maritime families with their finances during medical crises.
A heavy-lift ship.
19 Oct 2018
The looming IMO regulation, which reduces maximum sulfur emissions from 3.5 percent to 0.5 percent across most of the world's shipping lanes, “is arguably one of the industry’s most defining moments since the shift away from coal,” according to US energy giant ExxonMobil.
A heavy lift cargo ship transports an oil rig.
18 Oct 2018
Many questions remain concerning the low-sulfur rule that goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2020: how best to comply, how to manage fuel supply after IMO 2020, how to estimate changes in fuel costs, and how to plan for enforcement.
Breakbulk Americas.
11 Oct 2018
The breakbulk/project market, buoyed by adequate global GDP growth, is finally reviving after a recession-triggered downturn magnified by the 2015 crude oil crash. But challenges loom, including shifting customer demand preferences and the low-sulfur mandate.
Aibus 220 section at the Port of Mobile, Alabama.
10 Oct 2018
Since 2015, the production rate at Airbus' Mobile facility has increased to four Airbus 320s per month, so four sets of fuselages and wings are needed monthly, and "a weekly lo-lo [lift-on, lift-off] transport for these [would be] too expensive," the project's leader said.
A SeaWing by AirSeas.
10 Oct 2018
The SeaWing will harness wind power to blow the vessel across the ocean, reducing fuel costs. The roll-on, roll-off ship will be used in an already existing service transporting airplane sections from Saint Nazaire, France, to Airbus' manufacturing facility in Mobile, Alabama.

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