What is Breakbulk Cargo?

Breakbulk Cargo in transport

Breakbulk is general cargo that does not fit in or utilizes common shipping containers or intermodal shipping containers. But it is also different from bulk shipping in which cargo such as grain or oil is transported. Breakbulk cargo is always loaded individually and transported in bags, crates, boxes, drums or barrels. Examples of Breakbulk cargo covers oversized vehicles, cranes, ship propellers, construction equipment, large engines, generators, turbine blades, boats, manufacturing materials and more. In the history of shipping, Breakbulk was the most common form of cargo. However, with the increase in containerization worldwide since late 1960s volume of the breakbulk cargo has declined dramatically.

Advantages of Breakbulk

  • Large breakbulk cargo can be shipped without disassembling and reassembling cargo which reduces the loss of money and time associated with dismantling and rebuilding process.
  • It is beneficial to use this shipping for its ability to transport oversized and overweight cargo that wouldn’t fit inside a shipping container or a cargo bin.

Drawbacks of Breakbulk

  • Breakbulk shipping can be more expensive than containerization.
  • Requires special equipment to move breakbulk cargo.
  • Oversized or overweight cargo utilize more space than the goods set stacked on top of each other.
  • Breakbulk cargo has safety and security issue as it suffers greatly from theft and damage.