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When it comes to the health and safety of your personnel, nothing should fall through the cracks. The port industry is no exception to this: If you are currently running roll-on and roll-off operations—from ports to terminals to vessels—you need to be mindful of the safety best practices round-the-clock.

Workplaces need to be free from accidents, injuries, and fatalities to optimally fulfill their operations. In which case, ro-ro operators are responsible for complying with safety rules that protect crewmembers, stevedores, longshoremen, and office-based employees. 

What Can Contribute to Ro-Ro Accidents?

There are several factors to watch out for when implementing safety hazards in ro-ro. The following are based on the guidelines set by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OHSA):

1. Lack of training. The inability of employees to perform their duties due to lack of training can be detrimental to worker safety. Without proper training in the field, serious injuries can occur to the employee and/or those around them.

2. Fatigue. Being overworked is common in the port industry because the operations are non-stop. Being overfatigued makes it difficult for any crew member to stay focused on the job and have the energy to perform at their best.

3. Inadequate traffic controls. Managing automobiles coming in and out of the vessel can be hazardous without a proper traffic control system in place. Arrangements should be made to ensure everyone’s safety, such as creating clearly marked walkways or putting stoplights to manage traffic.

4. Material failures. Worn-out machinery is prone to accidents. Some old systems may malfunction in the middle of high-intensity activities.

5. Unsafe walking surfaces. Tripping hazards are common in cargo holds. Working areas must be free from debris and lashing points, or at the very least, there should be signages that alert workers if they are in unsafe working areas.

6. Inadequate ventilation. Internal combustion engine-driven ships must have proper ventilation around-the-clock. If left unattended, this could exceed the allowable limit of carbon monoxide concentrations.

7. Improper use of—or failure to use—personal protective equipment. Protective equipment exists to keep hazards from inflicting further injuries, especially burns or electrocution. Protective equipment such as chemical hood respiratory masks also keep you from inhaling harmful chemicals.

How Ro-Ro Operators Can Promote Health and Safety

As the port industry continues to advance, changes have introduced new hazards. The occupation taken upon by port workers has very high accident rates, so doing at least the bare minimum health and safety protocols will go a long way in mitigating risks. 

That said, each ro-ro operator should be able to develop, manage and implement working initiatives that promote the safety of its workers no matter what circumstances they are in. Here are a few general principles to follow.

1. Design a protocol that prevents your worker from handling crucial tasks alone. Accidents can happen anytime, especially during critical activities. If you have enough manpower to handle port activities, make sure that everyone has an accountability partner. But in circumstances where only one person can do the job, make sure that there is good communication with a party chief or anyone within the port to check on your worker’s safety.

2. Set a working budget for protective gear and other safety materials. Estimate your budget allocation for protective gear, warning signages, alert systems and other precautionary items to protect your workers during operations. Set aside a budget for testing equipment as well. It’s helpful to use expense report software to help you manage and track costs, ensuring that all crucial gears are purchased first.  In addition, include a budget for repairs and inventory. 

3. Make sure air flows properly. Adequate ventilation ensures that port workers have access to clean and sustainable air while on deck. According to the International Labour Force (ILF) in Geneva: “When internal combustion engines exhaust into a hold, intermediate deck or any other compartment, the employer must ensure that the atmosphere is tested as frequently as needed to provide carbon monoxide concentrations from exceeding allowable limits.”

Tests should be made regularly to ensure that the area is conducive for workers to perform their duties in without worrying about inhaling harmful chemicals. Likewise, the ILF mentioned that managers should ensure that no papers are on the loose and are properly stored in a secure and organized fashion. Papers tend to be sucked into the exhaust ventilation system, which could block airflow.

4. Make safety protocols visible. While most safety protocols are common sense, some people can forget them or not be trained in performing them properly. Make all your safety efforts obvious to port workers so they have reference materials when they need them most. For example, print out catalogs that tell them a step-by-step process on how to put out a fire in case it happens.

All signage should be clearly displayed throughout the site, whether on the ship or at the port. This should include a 24-hour emergency hotline as well as a map to the nearest clinic, hospital, fire station or police department. Entry and exit points, first aid kits and other emergency equipment should also have signage so workers know where to find what they need.

5. Be mindful of vehicle stowage and lashing or unlashing. Make sure that all vehicles, trailers and other automobiles are secured before taking off. The best practice is to secure one vehicle before another is positioned behind it. Also, lashers should have their own lashing points, both on the automobile and the ship.

6. Beware of slips and falls. Onboarding the ship is hazardous due to inadequate lighting, frequent weather changes and fluctuating water conditions that can make the deck very slippery. Make sure to put clear warning signages in areas that are prone to slips and falls, and make sure that these are well-lit. Likewise, prepare an on-site emergency plan that outlines clear instructions on what workers need to do in case of a fall.

7. Double-check machinery before sailing off. For safety purposes, make sure that you have experts inspect the machinery, the schedules of the workers, the first-aid kits, and other equipment. Check if there are possible oil spillages and if so, avoid all contact unless they are deemed safe. Note that chemicals release toxic fumes that may cause injuries or even start a fire.

Prioritize Safety First at All Times

These are some of the most basic health and safety practices you can do in your ro-ro operations, but they are not intended to replace any national regulations. Rather, they should help give you a better idea of where to start improving your organization’s protocols.



For the marine industry, “onward and upward” may be a fitting idiom. Even with the COVID-19 pandemic a constant, port congestion a problem, a scarcity of ship capacity and a shortage of terminal workers and truck drivers, just to mention a few issues, cargo keeps moving and ports and terminals keep doing their best to meet the daily challenges and plan for the future.

Hans Bean, chief commercial officer for North Carolina Ports, touched on the impact of supply chain issues in the breakbulk sector.

“Much has been written about the major supply chain disruption caused by the container carriers,” he notes. “This has driven shippers, where possible, to shift more of their supply chain to breakbulk. North Carolina Ports has seen import and export shippers increase the share of their ocean freight to breakbulk over the last six months.”

Bean says this global switch to more breakbulk “has driven up breakbulk ocean rates as well as warehouse utilization. The challenges on the U.S. East Coast lie primarily with warehouse capacity.”

He explained that, “In recent months, many U.S. East Coast ports have reached warehouse capacity limits and either had to turn vessels away or force extremely long wait times.” 

Though warehouse capacity is approaching 100% utilization, North Carolina Ports “has not overstepped its capacity limits due to its flexibility with its two-port solution,” Bean says in references to the ports of Wilmington and Morehead City. “Moreover, North Carolina Ports has land to grow and is looking to invest alone and with partners so to add capacity.”

North Carolina Ports’ two deep-water terminals at Wilmington and Morehead City have a long tradition of handling bulk and breakbulk cargoes. Over the past six years, Bean’s port authority has spent more than $200 million upgrading its container and non-container facilities at both locations.

“In the past two years, new dimension lumber breakbulk services have taken advantage of these improvements in both ports with Ultrabulk, G2 Ocean, Saga Welco and Spliethoff all activating new breakbulk services,” Bean said.

“At the Port of Wilmington, the diverse and multi-purpose terminal allows shippers that utilize both container and breakbulk modes of transportation to pivot between containers and breakbulk,” said Bean. “The ability to provide cross-over solutions has become a major advantage as pulp and paper products, grain, steel and even cold chain shippers seek additional capacity and re-evaluate their supply chains.” 

He also noted that on one terminal, Scoular, a major exporter of grain, feed and food ingredients, is completing a new grain transload facility that is scheduled to be operational by mid-November.

The Port of Morehead City, dedicated to bulk and breakbulk, recently received a new Liebherr LPS 420 crane, including new buckets/hopper equipment. 

Southern exposure

After a drop in cargo volume in fiscal year 2020/21, things are looking up at the Port of Beaumont, with an eye on growing volumes and moving forward on infrastructure projects at the Texas facility.

“2021 has been the year of focusing on infrastructure improvements to increase capacity at the Port of Beaumont,” said Sade Chick, the port’s director of Corporate Affairs. “As of Q3 of 2021, industrial projects have started to pick back up, which has had a positive impact on breakbulk volumes.”

Sade said the port recently issued more than $400 million in revenue bonds to Jefferson Energy Companies, the port’s private partner and operator of the Orange County Liquid Bulk Terminal, which will go toward infrastructure improvements, including construction of a third dock at the facility. An uptick in liquid bulk cargo volumes is anticipated in 2022. 

As well, the port commissioners approved a $217 million capital improvement program, comprised of 20 projects for 2021-2022. 

“The port is especially excited about this program because three of our largest projects will be out to bid by early 2022,” Chick said in reference to the Main Street Terminal 1 dock reconstruction project ($85.2 million), Grain Dock rehabilitation project ($25 million) and construction of a new rail interchange track ($12.3 million).

Also, of the 20 projects, 10 will directly impact breakbulk handling. The hard-surfacing of lots 5 and 13, the Lot 14 paving project, South End Infrastructure improvements and the Harbor Island Drive resurfacing project will result in an additional 30 acres of hard-surfaced laydown area for breakbulk cargoes.

Harbor Island Drive is the main road used to move cargo in and out of the port. The road will be resurfaced to expedite the process of moving large project components, like wind blades. 

Chick said that, “Upon completion of Main Street Terminal 1, the port will have an additional 1,150-foot-long dock used for general cargo handling. This will provide the port with an additional berth that will primarily be used for military equipment, wind turbine components and forest products.”

With a glimpse to the future, Chick said, “We anticipate growth in project cargo, specifically wind turbine components and refinery components. The driver for growth in wind energy is the Biden administration’s approved plans for the construction of the first, large-scale U.S. offshore wind farm.” 

The petrochemical industry is cyclical and historically, a downturn is followed by fairly rapid recovery, which comes in the form of projects starting back up, increasing the amount of project cargo moving through the Port of Beaumont. 

Milwaukee brewing

Although breakbulk has been down about 8% so far this year at Port Milwaukee located on Lake Michigan, Port Director Adam Tindall-Schlicht is optimistic some major projects will increase volumes.

Port Milwaukee handles a wide variety of breakbulk and non-containerized cargo, including steel (coils, plate, and long products), wind turbine components (towers, nacelles, blades, generators), brewery tanks, mining equipment, yachts, forest products, transformers, farm and construction machinery, manufacturing equipment, bagged materials and other project cargoes.

But one project, in particular, that holds great promise for the port is the construction of new headquarters and manufacturing plant by Komatsu Mining Corp, which produces heavy equipment. The project, in the Milwaukee Harbor District, has a price tag of $285 million. 

“The Komatsu project is directly related to opportunities for breakbulk,” said Tindall-Schlicht. “Komatsu has historically leveraged the Milwaukee port when it is exporting its mining equipment and large breakbulk pieces. Now that their new headquarters and manufacturing facilities are directly adjacent to us in the Harbor District, we really anticipate increased activity with Komatsu.”

Port Milwaukee has also been getting activity from the Ascent project under construction downtown. The 25-story apartment tower is the world’s largest timber structure “and we are within their supply chain so those pieces (timber) are being imported into North America from Austria, and the port is providing just-in-time delivery services,” Tindall-Schlicht said.

The port has put an emphasis on capital improvement this year and is in the process of developing the DeLong Terminal, which is an $85-million agriculture export terminal. It is expected to be operational in April 2023.

As has been the situation globally, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted Milwaukee’s trade patterns.

Although 2020 was the port’s best year in seven years with an overall commercial volume increase of 5%, Tindall-Schlicht pointed out that, “The supply chain and worldwide logistics issues that we have seen this year as a result of COVID are starting to impact the port. Our breakbulk trade is down about 8% so far this season.” 

It just goes to show that challenging issues in the marine industry are not confined to containerized cargo.

“We are seeing changes and impacts in dry bulk and breakbulk markets and really in all commodity areas that Port Milwaukee serves,” Tindall-Schlicht said.

While some of the decline can relate to supply chain and logistics issues, he said another “piece of this is many of the Trump era tariffs are still very much in play and causing some hardship here after years of being out there. We are still looking for some relaxation on some of those Trump era tariffs, and we hope the global trade community can come together and figure out a new paradigm as we go forward.”

Merrily, merrily Maryland

At the Port of Baltimore, “Big Red” is not just the name of a soda pop or chewing gum. It’s also the handle for a 167-foot long Manitowoc M250T crane at the port’s Dundalk Marine Terminal that can lift a staggering 200 metric tons. You’ll also find a Manitowoc GROVE GMK 7550 crane named ‘Yellow’ that can hoist 182 metric tons, as well as a heavy lift floating crane that can directly load heavy cargo from vessels to a barge, truck or railcar bed.

The terminal has direct rail access via CSX and is adjacent to the I-95 corridor and I-695 beltway. Indeed, the port boasts of having “the most cost-effective and efficient routing for the Mid-Atlantic region, the Midwest and beyond,” which explains why Baltimore ranks first among the nation’s ports for volume of autos and light trucks, ro-ro heavy farm and construction machinery and imported gypsum.

In the movement of vehicles, Baltimore has handled more autos and light trucks than any other U.S. port for 10 consecutive years, and the rebound from pandemic lows indicates continued strength in that category. In April, 34,672 autos and light trucks came across the port’s public docks, a tremendous 97% increase compared to the category’s pandemic low point in May 2020. In addition to new vehicles, the port also handles previously owned vehicles. In April, that category was also up 27% compared to the same month last year.

Public terminals at the port handled 85,405 tons of heavy machinery, up 73% compared to the category’s low point in June 2020 and a 30% increase compared to April of last year. Overall general cargo, with 937,439 tons, was up 28% compared to the category’s June 2020 low and up 7% year-over-year. 

K-Line, Nordana Line, NYK Bulkship, Höegh Autoliners, Grimaldi Lines, Westfal Larsen, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Atlantic Container Lines, Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics, Canada States Africa Line, and Atlantic Ro/Ro Carriers Bahri (the national shipping company of Saudi Arabia) are among the roll-on/roll-off breakbulk carriers that call on the port.

“Our cargo figures are bouncing back strong,” William Doyle, Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Port Administration’s (MDOT MPA) executive director, says in a release. “Farming and construction are picking up once again, worldwide, and American-made equipment is being exported to global markets through the Port of Baltimore. We are also moving forward with rail and terminal infrastructure projects that will help generate thousands of jobs and grow our business for many years to come.”

Georgia peachy

Located about 18 miles inland on the Savannah River, the Port of Savannah has 16 private terminals that handle a variety of products, ranging from woodchips and liquid natural gas to paper goods and petroleum.

But the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) also owns and operates Savannah’s Garden City Terminal and Ocean Terminal, with the latter primarily being a breakbulk facility with about 5,800 feet of contiguous dock space. Vehicles, heavy duty non-road equipment and other types of breakbulk cargo pass through Ocean Terminal.

In 2015, GPA implemented a new tracking system to more quickly process breakbulk cargo and provide real-time freight tracking for shippers moving cargo through the Port of Savannah. Then GPA Executive Director Curtis Foltz, who has since retired and been succeeded by Griff Lynch, said at the time, “The new system means faster service and better communication with our breakbulk customers.”

The Port of Brunswick is also a ro-ro, bulk and breakbulk facility that handled more than 685,000 units of vehicles and heavy machinery is fiscal year 2021 and contributed to the GPA seeing an 18% rise in total ro-ro volume compared to the previous year.

Port officials said the facilities saw a fast recovery from the global economic downturn of 2020.

To keep up with this unprecedented growth, GPA has accelerated its hiring efforts, bringing on nearly 150 new employees since January 2021. Many of these employees are being trained in jockey trucks, yard cranes and other equipment to handle growth at GPA’s facilities.


AntwerpXL Postponed to December 2021

The award-winning breakbulk and heavy-lift event, has been postponed from March 2021 to 7 – 9 December 2021 in a decision made in consultation with the community due to the continuing circumstances surrounding the pandemic. The live event, which during its incredible first edition attracted key visitors and exhibitors from across the industry’s biggest, best, and most innovative players will be held at the Antwerp Expo in Antwerp, Belgium.

As well as networking opportunities and an award-winning exhibition, the breakbulk and heavy-lift communities will benefit from the insights of some of the industry’s leading experts on a wide range of trends and issues impacting the industry and shaping the future of breakbulk in the conference.

Also at the show will be a brand new XL Industry Trends focus, a next-gen roundtable debate, with input from AntwerpXL’s  40 Under 40 winners, as well as a critical post-COVID-19 market analysis.

Sophie McKimm, Event Manager of AntwerpXL, says: “We’re thrilled to be able to announce the return of AntwerpXL; after the success of the inaugural event, we know how valuable holding an event in person is to the industry. In a recent industry survey, over 82% of respondents choose a live exhibition similarly to previous years as their preferred format for a future event, once safe to do so.

“Virtual events can offer a certain level of content, but we understand how important it still is for us to connect and continue to foster key relationships face to face. We are confident that, with the positive global vaccine roll-out program providing the ability for international visitors, which are key to the success of the show, and a December date we will achieve great success!”

Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO of Port of Antwerp, says: “We are very happy that Easyfairs will organize a new edition of Antwerp XL in 2021. More than any other sector, breakbulk is a people’s business and the breakbulk community is looking forward to meeting live again. Together with the City of Antwerp, we are therefore very excited to welcome visitors in Antwerp, your breakbulk home port, in the magical spirit of Christmas.”

This decision has been made in close consultation with the industry and due to the ongoing unforeseeable, unavoidable, and unprecedented global scope of the Coronavirus pandemic. This has led to the Government implementing ongoing measures to maintain social distancing, further continuing the Force Majeure situation.

During the lead up to the December 2021 event, AntwerpXL will launch a series of regular content initiatives, putting the focus on the key issues that the industry currently faces and its solutions. The new ‘XL Trends…’ series will connect innovative brands with forward-thinking specifiers to cover innovation, sustainability, and digitalization trends. This new series will provide the knowledge, resources, and tools those working in breakbulk logistic need to prepare for 2021 and beyond.

AntwerpXL provides all-year-round knowledge and resources, feeding into a platform for the industry to come together, networking with people from across the industry and find the products and solutions needed for their businesses. For more information about the event, visit


About AntwerpXL

AntwerpXL is a three-day exhibition and conference for the breakbulk and heavy-lift industry. Industry leaders will meet to stay ahead of the competition, network, and gain new business at the Antwerp Expo in Antwerp, Belgium on 7 – 9 December 2021. Find out more at

About Easyfairs

Easyfairs organizes and hosts live events, bringing communities together to visit the future. The company currently organizes 200 events in 14 countries (Algeria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom) and manages 10 event venues in Belgium, the Netherlands and Sweden (Antwerp, Ghent, Mechelen-Brussels North, Namur, Gorinchem, Hardenberg, Venray, Gothenburg, Malmö, and Stockholm).

Easyfairs employs more than 750 people and generated revenues exceeding €166 million for its financial year 2018-2019.
Easyfairs strives to be the most adaptable, agile, and effective player in the events industry by employing committed individuals, deploying the best marketing and technology tools, and developing strong brands.

In 2018 Easyfairs was named Belgium’s “Entrepreneur of the Year®” and earned recognition as a Deloitte “Best Managed Company” and a “Great Place to Work”. For the second year running, Deloitte has conferred “Best Managed Company” status on Easyfairs in 2020 and also saw AntwerpXL win “Best Event Launch” at the AEO Awards.
The company is ranked 17th on the list of the world’s leading exhibition companies.

Visit the future with Easyfairs and find out more on

For further information, please contact:

Rikki Bhachu, Head of Marketing, Easyfairs:, +44 (0)20 3196 4282

Stacey Van Vliet, Marketing Assistant,, +44 (0)20 3196 4396


SAL Heavy Lift Confirms Fleet Additions for 2020

Three new vessels will make their debut for SAL Heavy Lift beginning in 2020. The fleet additions boast an 800t lifting capacity and will ultimately support the Harren & Partner Group member’s clients along the main trade lanes between Europe and the Far East in addition to the Africa service, all while furthering SAL’s position in heavy lift and project cargo sectors.

“The Type 171 vessels come with certain technical features such as ice class E3, equivalent to Finnish/Swedish 1A – amongst the highest in the industry,” said Karsten Behrens, Director, SAL Engineering. “The vessels also have very high crane pedestals which provide a much greater lifting height, in fact amongst the best in our fleet. In combination with the strong hydraulic hatch covers and large box-shaped holds with multiple tween deck configurations, it gives us an array of options when taking breakbulk cargo onboard.”

These vessels were confirmed in the announcement to be of the P1 Type design with an impressive amount of lifting capabilities (up to 800 tons) thanks to two 400t SWL cranes and one 120t SWL crane. Names have also been officially announced for the fleet additions: “MV Hanna”, “MV Klara” and “MV Lisa.” These names were selected after the family members of former owner and current technical ship manager, Heino Winter Group.

“I am very happy that we have been able to add these vessels to our heavy lift fleet,” added Dr. Martin Harren, CEO, SAL Heavy Lift. “This way SAL will be able to service clients who may at times look for ships that can take larger volumes of cargo in combination with heavy lift items. With SAL Engineering providing the engineering solutions and our SAL crew manning the vessels, we continue to offer our well-known SAL quality and know-how, but on a larger scale – something that I am sure clients, both new and existing, will come to appreciate.”

Image provided by SAL Heavy Lift

Port of Vancouver USA Confirms Record-Breaking Shipment

Port of Vancouver USA confirmed the receipt of a record-breaking, single shipment of Vestas blades on June 24. A total of 198 wind turbine blades measuring 161 feet represent the largest single shipment in Vestas history.

“The port is uniquely qualified to handle these types of projects,” said Chief Commercial Officer Alex Strogen. “Our heavy lift mobile cranes, acres of laydown space, highly-skilled workforce, and dedication to renewable energy make the Port of Vancouver the perfect port for receiving wind energy components.”

“We are grateful for our partners including ILWU Local 4Local 40 and Local 92,” said  Strogen. “We also thank the hard work of Jones StevedoringTransmarineand Combi Dock. Their talent, expertise and hard work are integral to the port’s continued commercial success.”

PacifiCorp and Vestas provided joint efforts in the record-setting shipment, as the blades were transported to the port’s Terminal 5 laydown area where they will then be transported via truck to re-power turbines at the Marengo wind farm in Washington.

Thanks to added efforts by logistics industry stakeholders High, Wide, Heavy Corridor Coalition, Port of Vancouver USA is able to continue supporting needed equipment and infrastructure needs within the wind energy components sector.

“We’re excited to bring this upgrade to the Marengo Wind Project near Dayton, a town that’s helping to grow clean, renewable energy right here in our region,” said Tim Hemstreet, Managing Director for Renewable Energy at PacifiCorp. “By using the latest technology to repower these existing wind turbines, we’re able to deliver to our customers a boost of clean, wind energy while keeping energy costs low.” 

Source: Port of Vancouver

Everyone’s Breaking Into Breakbulk

Time was breakbulk, project cargo and multipurpose/heavylift were their own niche sector on the global shipping spectrum, but many of today’s carriers are taking it all, from MPV/HL to roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro) to go along with their regular old vanilla container hauling (not to suggest said containers are filled with vanilla, although they could be).

The “Big Three” carriers—MSC, CMA-CGM and Maersk—continue competing with one another by each entering the comparatively lucrative breakbulk and project cargo market, which has also drawn such ro/ro specialists as Grimaldi, NYK and MOL.

For its “global out-of-gauge and breakbulk services,” MSC advertises “first class project cargo management, no matter whether you have a requirement for heavy lift cargo, or for oversized cargo which cannot fit inside a standard container.” MSC can point to more than 40 years of experience in shipping oversized freight and their “expert project cargo logistics team” that can help with the planning and execution of special loadings.

Not to be outdone, the CMA CGM website states, “Our dedicated experts will take pride in providing you with our Special Cargo services and will find with you reliable shipping solutions, whether you’re shipping sensitive materials or heavy and bulky equipment but also will take extra care of Aid and Humanitarian cargo that often exceeds the size of standard containers.”

Size matters, of course, as CMA CGM can rely on the expertise of its 755 agencies in more than 160 countries all around the world as well as an extensive network of ports, terminal operators and suppliers. “Our teams can deliver a seamless door-to-door service and integrated one-stop-shop solutions for your Special Cargo anywhere in the world,” the promo boasts.

COSCO Shipping also relies on a large fleet and experience in extra-heavy hauling. This was demonstrated in February, when the sound section of the Maersk Honam was successfully loaded aboard COSCO’s heavy-lift vessel Xin Guang Hua on open waters outside Dubai. The 228.5-meter long item arrived in March at Hyundai Heavy Industries in South Korea.

Maersk has been accepting breakbulk as well, with company officials pointing to the opportunity to be able to carry an entire project as opposed to select components that fit neatly in traditional containers. The carrier does assess breakbulk or project cargo on a case by case, depending on available space and vessels, the length and width of the cargo and the terminals to be called.

“We’ll use special gear, extra labor, and oversee operations,” Karen Hicks, Maersk’s global client manager, told in March. “There are no cut and dried solutions.” Her company is searching for more solutions with the creation of special project cargo teams and online booking tools, however.

Wallenius Wilhelmsen Ocean (WW Ocean) is occupying the space in between containers and lift-on/lift-off (lo/lo) or geared MPV/HL, stowing cargo under the deck of ro-ro ships where less packaging and handling is required. WW Ocean officials say they see growth potential in being able to handle a single piece of breakbulk cargo, multiple pieces or pieces and materials for large, multimillion-dollar projects handled over several voyages.

Customers should be warned that pricing can be tricky. As opposed to a standard container rate, carriers have to factor in trade lanes, weight and volume, cargo type, and any special equipment needed, such as mobile loading platforms (mafis) or jack-up trailers. Surcharges for bunkers, port costs, and other assessorial charges must also be factored in. And then there are the costs for securing different types of cargo along the trade routes.

The variety of elements to consider has not swayed Höegh Autoliners away from offering transportation for all types of breakbulk cargo, as the carrier handles close to 6 million cubic meters of high and heavy and breakbulk cargoes annually worldwide. For breakbulk, project and other “out-of-gauge” cargo, Höegh relies on modern and specialized rolltrailers, which are specially designed for smooth and safe transportation of heavy and/or long breakbulk cargo.

G2 Ocean is only two years old, so most would consider the carrier new to the breakbulk game. But company officials want you to know that they actually have 50 years of experience in the sector thanks to G2 Ocean being a joint venture of two of the world’s leading breakbulk and bulk-shipping companies: Gearbulk and Grieg Star.

“We operate the largest fleet of open hatch vessels worldwide,” proclaims the G2 Ocean website. “In addition we operate a substantial fleet of conventional bulk carriers. With 130 vessels and 13 offices on six continents, we can serve all our customer’s needs. Our vessels are tailor-made for breakbulk cargoes like forestry products, steel and project cargoes. Advanced systems make shipping with us easy. The passion and expertise of our people put our customers at ease. This is the basis for reliable, efficient, flexible, high-quality and innovative services.”

However, you do not have to be a large, global conglomerate carrier concern to specialize in breakbulk and project cargo. On the other end of the roster is Florida Barge Corp. (FBC), whose 150- to 400-foot long tubs were engineered and constructed to transport heavy and concentrated cargo loads.

Routinely operating in the waters of the U.S. East Coast, the Gulf Coast, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America, FBC offers project cargo, heavy-lift, and module transportation services—at rates that are less or at least competitive with the big boys.

Founder Brendan Moran boasts more than 15 years of experience in the marine transportation and project cargo industry. “Whether your needs include loading and transport of bridge beams or dredge related equipment,” states Moran’s online bio, “FBC will provide all aspects of the movement from inception to completion.”

The ports of South Carolina handled increased volume of export cargo and import cargo in international trade in multiple categories.

Breakbulk Logistics Show Registration Now Open

Registration is now open for AntwerpXL – the latest and greatest show featuring logistics for RoRo, cargoes, and heavy lift, taking place in Belgium, in association with the Port of Antwerp from May 7-9. Those that register for the event throughout January will receive a free pass using the code: Jan2543

“Our fresh format will showcase innovation as well as providing the ideal platform for relaxed networking and discovering better ways of managing breakbulk cargoes,” said Mark Rimmer, Divisional Director, AntwerpXL. January not only sees the launch of event registration but also the new brand reveal for the event.”

“We believe this bold sector deserves a bold brand and partner to help it shape the future of breakbulk. We are looking forward to putting the actual logistics of breakbulk, RoRo, and heavy lift back at the heart of the conversation,” he concluded.

Speakers will be announced in the upcoming weeks.

For more information on the event, please visit: