Break Bulk Cargo, though out of fashion post the container era, is being considered as a solution – at least in India – as the global container shortage lingers and the Ministry of Commerce considers its alternatives.
The Ministry is in the process of seeking out information from the shipping industry about the types of packaging being used so as to make a list of the goods that can be shipped as breakbulk cargo via priority berthing. The ultimate goal is to facilitate faster exports of suitable commodities and reduce their logistics cost as well. Breakbulk cargo freight rates are usually 25-30% lower than containerized cargo, depending on the trading area of the vessel.
Breakbulk Cargo is packed in smaller units for the ease of storage as well as movement with the help of cranes, conveyors, forklifts or even by hand. Such cargo is generally stored in large silos, containers, or special holds built on ships, thus, ensuring the security of cargo is not compromised.
An industry representative said that there are not only a shortage of containers but ships as well, and an agreement between the buyers and sellers to agree to breakbulk shipping arrangement will resolve the container issue to a large extent.
A vessel with a capacity to carry a 12,000 metric tonne load can carry only 8,000 metric tonnes if loaded with containerized cargo. However, it can transport up to 11,000 metric tonnes if the cargo is in breakbulk form.