Break Bulk: An Efficient Solution

Break Bulk en INTPSS: Vaporizador para burque de LNG

Break bulk transport represents a system of transporting goods in separate pieces rather than in conventional containers. This approach is especially useful for large and heavy individual items, such as construction equipment, oil and gas machinery, pipelines, ships, turbine blades, ship propellers, generators, large engines and steel parts.

How Break Bulk Transport Works

Break bulk cargo is characterised by the fact that it is not contained in standard containers. Instead, specific packaging is used, such as bags, boxes, crates, drums or barrels. In addition, it can be transported as unit loads attached to pallets or skids.

This method provides flexibility to handle a wide variety of goods, adapting to the specific needs of each type of cargo.

Specialised bulk cargo vessels are equipped with heavy lift cranes. These cranes allow heavy cargoes to be handled safely and efficiently. Compared to conventional quay cranes, specialised bulk cranes significantly speed up the loading and unloading process.

This efficiency is essential, especially when it comes to large goods.

The term ‘break bulk’ comes from the expression ‘breaking bulk’, which describes the action of removing or discharging part of a ship’s cargo. Break bulk points are strategic locations where goods are transferred from one mode of transport to another.

This may occur at docks, where goods are transferred from the ship to trucks or other means of land transport.


Break bulk en INTPSS: Calentador de vapor, Chiclana - Cuidad de Cabo.

Break bulk at INTPSS: Steam Heater, Chiclana – Cape Town.

Advantages of Break Bulk Transport

The maritime logistics method known as Break Bulk offers a number of notable advantages for various sectors and industries.

In the following, we will explore the most salient advantages of this method, which are particularly beneficial in a number of situations.

  1. Cost Savings:The optimisation of cargo space provided by the Break Bulk translates into significant savings in shipping costs. The ability to split costs between multiple customers makes transportation more economical and accessible to a variety of companies.
  2. Flexibility in the Nature of the Load: Break bulk transport accommodates a wide range of goods, from heavy machinery to bulk products, providing a versatile solution for a variety of industries.
  3. Handling Efficiency: Thanks to specialised cranes, the loading and unloading process is faster and more efficient, reducing waiting times and optimising the supply chain.
  4. Adaptability to Short and Long Distances: This method of transport is suitable for both short distances and longer routes. It can be used in combination with other modes of transport, ensuring effective cargo delivery.
  5. Reduced Standard Packaging Needs: By not relying on standard containers, break bulk transport can accommodate goods of irregular shapes and sizes, reducing the need for costly and specialised packaging.
  6. Environmental Responsibility: Optimising space not only translates into financial savings, but also environmental benefits. Reducing the number of shipments by optimising space leads to a smaller environmental footprint, demonstrating greater responsibility towards the environment.

Break Bulk Transport Planning Considerations

  1. Selection of Suitable Vessels: It is crucial to choose specialised vessels that match the nature of the cargo. The capacity of cranes and other equipment on board is a determining factor.
  2. Logistics planning: Identifying strategic break bulk points and efficiently coordinating the transfer of cargo between different modes of transport is essential to avoid delays and ensure a steady flow.
  3. Cargo Security: Given the nature of bulk commodities, robust security measures must be implemented during transport and handling to prevent damage and ensure the integrity of the cargo.
Break Bulk en INTPSS: Vaporizador para buque de LNG
Break Bulk at INTPSS: LNG carrier steamer

Break Bulk Logistics: An Essential Service for Special Loads

The Break Bulk alternative is an indispensable service for industries that handle special loads.

Its flexibility and adaptability are key when it comes to transporting machinery, industrial parts, automobiles and other large volume and weight products.


When Break Bulk is Necessary

The use of the Break Bulk becomes more than advisable when it comes to transporting large volume and weight goods that cannot share space with other types of cargo. In cases of machinery, industrial parts, automobiles, among others, the Break Bulk is the ideal logistics solution.

Break Bulk en INPTSS: Ventiladores para buque de energía.
Break Bulk at INPTSS: Power Vessel Fans.

Conclusion: Optimising the Supply Chain with Break Bulk Transport

In short, break bulk transport offers an efficient and flexible solution for handling special goods. Its ability to accommodate a variety of cargo shapes and sizes, combined with efficient handling, makes it a valuable option for industries that handle heavy and large equipment.

Careful planning and the selection of specialised vessels are key to maximising the benefits of this method of transport.

It is undeniable that a significant portion of cargo that used to be containerised is migrating to the Break Bulk alternative. The lower costs associated with this logistics option are driving this current and future trend.

The continued use of Break Bulk is expected to be a benchmark and a priority for new companies and those seeking efficiency and economy in their logistics operations.