Breakbulk is a modern name for conventional general cargo and is particularly popular to ship general cargoes by containership. The difference between awkward cargoes (Out-of-Gauge) and Breakbulk is that Out-of-Gauge cargo is being handled with the container attached, while for breakbulk Flat Rack or Platform containers will be prepared on board as a ‘bed’ to accommodate the cargo. The cargo is being lifted on board and being lashed & secured afterwards.

Breakbulk onto a (container) liner service can be cost efficient when the same vessel is calling both the port of loading and port of discharge. The vessel does not need to divert to another port, however, if transhipment is required to another vessel, it might be more efficient to ship your cargo by general cargo vessel. The cargo will not be touched multiple times and it saves some time, too.

A very important factor to consider is the weight of the cargo. Cargoweights above +/- 80 metric tons per piece can often not being handled by the gantry crane of the terminal, nor the ship’s crane, if such crane is on board the vessel. For such cargoes, a floating crane or other heavy equipment is required to load and/or discharge the cargo. Heavy lift cargoes to smaller ports without a suitable port infrastructure are often shipped by a general cargo or heavy lift ship with own cargo handling equipment.

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