Slumping commodity markets are making 2017 a difficult year for breakbulk and project cargo shippers and carriers, despite scattered bright spots such as continuing construction of multibillion-dollar petrochemical projects along the U.S. Gulf Coast, and infrastructure in Asia and South America.

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.

In addition to containerized cargo, Boeing uses the port for breakbulk shipments — including oversized shipments for several well-known planes.
Any recovery would contrast with the depressed market the industry has endured in recent years.
Higher construction spending and manufacturing output generate the type of heavy industrial freight handled by Daseke through its network of subsidiary trucking companies.
There’s not much confidence that the UK government will meet the deadline.
Considering how advanced some industries are in digitizing their processes, the maritime industry is still far behind.
Breakbulk carriers generally do not operate on a fixed schedule as container lines do.
The connectivity will facilitate trade between Bangladesh and a landlocked Indian state.
With land and location, Brownsville is on the verge of attracting multibillion-dollar projects.
The port said it is in negotiations with an unnamed potential operator for the new Dames Point auto terminal.
“It’s a first step, but a critical first step.”
Last week’s ruling by Judge Rudolph Contreras of the US District Court for the District of Columbia is the latest development in a years-long dispute over pilotage fees.
The primary issue is with “field formations” that must still set up systems and procedures for handling RFID e-sealed containers.
That state aid scheme underscores the importance the Narendra Modi government places on coastal and short-sea shipping.
The shipment of outsized or heavyweight air freight has demanded agility, speed, and quick thinking from forwarders, charter brokers, and carriers.
Receita Federal (customs) officers in the port of Santos are escalating their slowdowns and strikes that began last week.
President Donald Trump’s nominee to head the US Export-Import Bank has described the bank as “corporate welfare” that should be abolished.
The World Bank will provide 5.3 billion taka of the funding.
Transporters of outsized cargoes now must obtain permits to cross borders and even to move from region to region within countries.
Dirk Visser, senior shipping consultant and managing editor at Dynamar, sees improvement in the breakbulk and project cargo industry.

The Maritime Workers Emergency Medical Fund deserves generous support. It offers a helping hand to those in need and provides direct help to those who help make the maritime industry such a special community.