Long ago, before container shipping took the ocean freight industry by storm, break bulk cargo remained the dominant force in the shipping world. Break bulk cargo refers to larger shipments that are oversized and overweight. Thus, these shipments cannot fit in any type of normal ocean container. When being shipped as break bulk cargo, the shipment will be transported as a whole individual piece. For some items, it is sometimes more cost-effective this way, instead of dealing with assembling of an item. When the cargo does reach a transfer point, for example from port to truck or truck to port, then it reaches a destination called the break-in-bulk point.
Which types of shipments usually are transported as break bulk? Usually, they include equipment, heavy machinery and vehicles. Break bulk shipping requires a special type of a vessel, called a break bulk ship. This vessel is unique in that there is a crane nearby that lifts the shipments on the vessel to and from the port. This is considered to be a LO/LO (Lift-On/Lift-Off) operation and it differs from the other type of service used for vehicles and machines called RO/RO (Roll-On/Roll-Off). Your freight forwarder can explain which option might be better for your shipment.
Break bulk cargo is no longer as popular as it once was, and when you request a car transportation quote, it might not even be the best option for you. But sometimes when you are shipping a product that is too big for a container, then this might be your best option.