Break bulk cargo is general cargo or goods that do not fit in or utilize standard shipping containers or cargo bins. Break bulk is different from bulk shipping, which is used for cargo such as petroleum products or grain. Instead, breakbulk cargo is transported individually, oftentimes on a skid or pallet or in a crate.
Breakbulk shipping is used for cargo like construction equipment, manufacturing materials, oversized vehicles or engines, boats, cranes, turbine blades, ship propellers, generators, etc.
The main benefit of using breakbulk shipping is that it becomes easier for shippers to move oversized, over-weight items that wouldn’t otherwise fit into a container or cargo bin. In some cases, breakbulk can be an affordable way to ship such large cargo — since the item will not have to be dismantled while shipping. Breakbulk shipping also beneficial in terms of speed. When you reduce the time spent in deconstruction and reconstruction, the item will be ready for dispatch upon arrival much more quickly.
Breakbulk may tend to be expensive as each cargo would get shipped/delivered individually, which means more space in the ship or cargo to hold items that result in higher shipping costs. Large cargo often takes up more space in the ship or cargo hold than items that are packaged neatly in uniform, stackable containers, which results in higher shipping costs for breakbulk items. It also takes more human work-force to load or unload the cargo.
Heavy breakbulk cargo is cargo weighing more than 100 tonnes such as generators, turbines, and presses.