We recently read an excellent article in breakbulk magazine which we urge all to have a read, we love that magazine and also value the contributing consultants comments too. The article touched on the competition that traditional breakbulk carriers are seeing from RoRo and containerised operators who are vying for cargo while their own traditional markets are suffering from low volumes, BreakBulkSchedules.com are well versed in this and thought it would be good to share one of our recent experiences together with our thoughts and observations on this topic too.
Two weeks ago a customer approached us with some cargo for Dalian it was too big for a container and too dense for a flat rack, it was nothing other than breakbulk cargo. The problem the shipper had was the cargo was needed in Dalian before the end of April and was only just ready from an UK based factory. Traditionally that would mean a journey to Antwerp to connect with one of the regular liner services from this port however upon checking with the usual operators 1 line had an arrival May and another not till the middle of May. The option we decided was to ship as breakbulk with a container operator from a UK port who’s arrival date was actually 20th April. This appealed to the client not just because of the faster arrival in Dalian but because the delivery to the port of loading was both shorter and cost effective compared to trucking all the way to Antwerp. The freight level itself was slightly higher than the Antwerp options but the saving in transport fees and the avoidance of any penalty clauses being incurred for a late arrival in China more than offset this.
It certainly has been a trend that container operators have chased the revenue that breakbulk cargo can provide which for them in today’s market (and depending on the trade) 1 shipment for them could be the equivalent in revenue terms of shipping 20/30 containers. Such a model can only be short sighted on their behalf as when their own market starts to recover space becomes an issue for them and they’ll naturally favour regular higher paying containers over spot-irregular breakbulk shipments. It should be noted there are several carriers who now have dedicated breakbulk teams who pick and choose live shipments as a compliment to their container movements so the short term vision by some container carriers has been adapted to that of a stealth revenue stream to sit comfortably within their portfolio of activities. Their role is limited and really they should be considered as complimentary service offering fast weekly departures for individual or small parcel shipments that have urgent deadlines. Always remember of course the Achilles heel for the container carriers is that of the lift capacity of the ports in which they ply their trade for which they will forever be in the shade of the traditional breakbulk liner.
So for those urgent cargoes, or in the case of the UK Market without a regular reliable breakbulk sailing our website helps you find a voyage that can assist with your breakbulk cargo.
Link to the aforementioned article: Read This Article
Until the next post, safe sailing.