Break bulk refers to the transportation of goods that are not suitable for standard containerization due to their size or shape. They are instead packed individually in separate units in various forms such as pallets, bags, crates, boxes, drums, or barrels for easier handling and lifting with cranes, conveyors, forklifts, or manual processing.
The term break bulk comes from the word “breaking bulk”, which means to start unloading part or all of the cargo of a ship. Break bulk cargo can be highly manpower-reliant and require specialized equipment to load and unload the items. Some examples of break bulk cargo are manufacturing supplies, timber products, oversized vehicles, project cargo such as wind turbines and factory manufacturing equipment, construction machinery, power generators, and industrial engines.