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

21 Sep 2021
Ro/ro carriers are adding capacity and ordering ships as Brexit snarls supply chains and complicates European labor shortages.
24 Oct 2019
US wind energy developers are scrambling to complete projects before a federal production tax credit is completely phased out at the end of 2022.
23 Oct 2019
Revisions for 2020 reflect an Incoterms committee that was less “Eurocentric” and more trade-oriented than in the past, according to Frank Reynolds, president of consulting firm International Projects Inc. and a member of the International Chamber of Commerce’s Incoterms revision committee.
23 Oct 2019
Consolidation among carriers in the multipurpose/heavy-lift (MPV/HL) sector has reduced the number of ship operators, but not the overall number of ships available.
22 Oct 2019
With scrapping levels still relatively low, overcapacity is expected to continue to keep downward pressure on multipurpose/heavy-lift (MPV/HL) vessel rates.
22 Oct 2019
After a lengthy hiatus, the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) recently approved a $5 billion loan to finance US exports for the development of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in northern Mozambique.
21 Oct 2019
Recently imposed tariffs, a persistent oversupply of vessels, and evolving shipper requirements are redrawing traditional trade lanes for multipurpose and heavy-lift (MPV/HL) carriers.
16 Oct 2019
Emergence of platforms across modes will help breakbulk market implement new tech. JOC Senior Editor Eric Johnson on challenges, steps forward for project cargo shippers that want to leverage tech for improved visibility, data.
10 Oct 2019
The pace of technological growth is exceeding the logistics sector’s ability to come up with ways to use it, leaving the market with “solutions” that do not align with actual shipper needs.
04 Oct 2019
Integrated and diversified shipping companies in the vehicle logistics sector stand to benefit the most from the ongoing rebound in the vehicle and high and heavy market due to their inland investments, a Drewry consultant said.
Georgia Ports ro-ro volumes grow amid expansion
04 Oct 2019
Georgia Ports Authority’s “state of the port” address detailed investments in ro-ro infrastructure at Colonel’s Island.
The AAL Dampier loading petrochemical plant components at Pyeongtaek for delivery to a petrochemical plant site at Map Ta Phut, Thailand. The cargo was more than 15,000 cbm and included an 86-meter-long pressure vessel weighing close to 360 mt.
02 Oct 2019
Multipurpose/heavy-lift carrier AAL adds tonnage and adopts a new transaction management system.
The Zea Focus, delivered in April 2019, loading project cargo.
02 Oct 2019
C-suite changes continue at the Bremen-based multipurpose/heavy-lift carrier Zeamarine.
Second-hand multipurpose/heavy-lift sales gaining ground
24 Sep 2019
MPP sales and purchases are unfreezing as faith in the market builds and capacity remains tight, according to Toepfer Transport.
23 Sep 2019
The global economic slowdown and US-China trade war is putting a dent in the high-growth outlook for India’s breakbulk and project cargo trade.
JOC Top 40 container carrier rankings first half 2019
16 Sep 2019
Container carriers in the slowing US import and export trades are exercising increased discipline, maintaining capacity levels rather than introducing new vessels in an attempt to secure a larger share of the market.
12 Sep 2019
A shift in focus by the Tioga Marine Terminal (TMT) to handling forestry products five years ago has drawn enough business that the terminal and the Port of Philadelphia are now building a new $12 million, 100,000-square-foot warehouse to handle wood and paper products.
11 Sep 2019
The Jones Act requires that a US fleet build offshore wind farms, but that fleet does not exist as yet.
11 Sep 2019
Heavy-lift carriers open a shared office and will cooperate to offer more choices in a consolidating shipping segment.
11 Sep 2019
Consolidation through mergers and acquisitions among heavy-lift and project carriers and a rebound in demand in the mining and energy markets have the heavy transport sector “on the cusp of a boom,” according to industry executives.
11 Sep 2019
Despite being incredibly complex and heavily reliant on personal relationships, certain elements of project cargo logistics can be streamlined through digitization.
27 Aug 2019
US wind energy is growing, but tariffs could slow a booming industry.
20 Aug 2019
Ro-ro high and heavy imports are strong into the United States despite gathering economic storm clouds.
20 Aug 2019
Ulrich Ulrichs takes the helm of prominent global MPV/HL carrier BBC Chartering as Svend Andersen steps down.
16 Aug 2019
Gulf Stream Marine Vice President Tony Jaworski and Business Development Manager Brett Holliday discuss the Logistic stevedore and terminal operator's expectations for steel trade, wind energy, and consolidation.
15 Aug 2019
The Memphis-based freight forwarder has hired long-time project forwarding veteran Michael Confessore to help build a dedicated project team from the ground up.
12 Aug 2019
Toepfer’s multipurpose index posted a slight gain as of mid-August as competitors stayed occupied elsewhere and one large freight contract was awarded.
01 Aug 2019
Heavy lift and multi-purpose vessel owners eager to expand have a difficult time securing financing for newbuilds, particularly if they’re used for oil and gas projects.
30 Jul 2019
Blockchain technology has the potential to improve communication across supply chain stakeholders by creating a single, immutable record of all documents and data.
29 Jul 2019
The merger of Mammoet and ALE, two of the three largest heavy-lift transport providers, raises major questions for competitor Sarens.
29 Jul 2019
Members of the Project Logistics Contracts Model Rules Initiative say it can be difficult to have a meaningful discussion about inappropriate terms and conditions within contracts, as service providers can be kicked out of negotiations if they protest.
26 Jul 2019
Specialized carrier Zeamarine has published an IMO 2020-driven bunker clause announcement for its tramp and semi-liner multipurpose and heavy-lift fleet as it looks to offset the coming jump in fuel costs.
26 Jul 2019
A recent uptick in pest presence in properly treated and marked wood packaging materials (WPM) has US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) rethinking its ISPM 15 enforcement policies.
CBP inspections have uncovered a rash of properly treated and stamped shipments of inbound wood packaging materials (WPM) cargo that nonetheless harbored dangerous wood-boring beetles.
25 Jul 2019
Violations of ISPM 15, which maintains strict guidelines for treatment of all wood packaging materials (WPM) to prevent the accidental introduction of invasive pests, can result in the re-exportation of entire shipments of goods and large fines, even if importers and carriers have followed the regulations to the best of their abilities.
A yacht being lifted to the deck of a G2 Ocean vessel.
24 Jul 2019
Multipurpose vessel/heavy-lift (MPV/HL) analysts Dynamar, Drewry, and Toepfer all have slightly different in-house methods for parsing out the specialized MPV/HL fleet that focuses on breakbulk, project, and heavy-lift cargoes.
22 Jul 2019
US importers say they face a lack of alternatives, feedback, and proactive sourcing information from enforcement officials when treated and apparently compliant wood packaging materials (WPM) fail ISPM 15 inspection.