Breakbulk shows split in activity

By: | at 08:00 PM | Channel(s): Maritime  

Break bulk activity is showing a split between smaller shipments; those that can fit in open containers or on flat racks, and those “big shoulder” items like power generators, energy equipment and other large items. Smaller shipments are growing in volume, particularly shipments to Asia and South America. However, activity for substantially sized equipment still remains in the doldrums.
These are the conclusions of Ike Ortiz-Luis, General Manager at the Break Bulk Division of DGX-Dependable Global Express, a freight forwarder with major operations in heavy duty shipping.
“The economic downturn is beginning to abate for smaller shipments as demand is heating up,” said Ortiz-Luis who follows break bulk operations daily from DGX headquarters and is in close touch with literally hundreds of forwarders and direct shippers throughout the USA.
“A recessionary climate remains in force for the very big items. Nations and companies still are somewhat reluctant to commit themselves to hundreds of millions of dollars in new infrastructure,” stated Ortiz-Luis.
The heavy duty shipping executive pointed to an unfortunate trend in the shipping business brought on by weak economic conditions. “There is a growing number of so-called ‘phantom’ orders from shippers to their forwarders. These are orders which are canceled, often at the last minute and which are causing havoc with forwarder and shipping line operations.” Ike Ortiz-Luis hopes that as economic activity strengthens, there will be less “phantoms” and more consummated orders.
Another somewhat negative development in terms of American manufacturing capability is the growing activity of “strip, pack and move” shippers who specialize in tearing down equipment in U.S. factories and shipping them overseas. Silicon Valley has seen a large number of almost complete computer and electronic plants sent to China, via break bulk shipping, whose Chinese manufacturers promptly set them up and send the manufactured parts and components back to the U.S. for sale. “Let’s hope with an upturn in the economy, there will be more at home manufacturing,” he stated.
The DGX executive reports that a greater number of ships are available for heavy duty work, many with increased load capacity. “When the inevitable upturn occurs, heavy duty shipping will be ready for it,” Ike Ortiz-Luis concluded.

American Journal of Transportation