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What Is Breakbulk Shipping?

What Is Breakbulk Shipping?

Breakbulk shipping may not be a term you’re familiar with, but it makes up a huge portion of heavy equipment transport and overseas heavy equipment shipping. In simple terms, breakbulk shipping means that something large is broken up into smaller parts for transport, either because it’s too heavy when assembled, won’t fit into traditional transport containers, or to make it easier to move on and off of a transport ship. Since it’s such a large part of the shipping industry, breakbulk shipping is a very widely used service and one that many people and industries rely on to ship and receive heavy equipment and oversized items.

Some of the items that are most commonly transported using breakbulk shipping include construction equipment, heavy machinery, and oversized or heavy vehicles and components. There are some obvious advantages to shipping these types of items as breakbulk cargo—for one, they’re typically too big to shipped through traditional means. Another key advantage is that the transport ships are better able to navigate smaller ports for delivery when something large is broken down into smaller components, whereas cargo that is not broken down may have difficulty getting into and properly maneuvering in smaller ports. Since the cargo is not shipped using containers, it’s also generally easier to load and unload from the transport carrier, which translates to more efficiency and timelier delivery.

A-1 Auto Transport is an expert in all facets of vehicle transport, both domestically and overseas. With more than two decades of experience, there’s no job we haven’t done and no challenge we can’t tackle. If you’re curious about the cost of breakbulk shipping contact us today to learn more about our services! Call us at 1-888-230-9116 for domestic breakbulk transport, or 1-888-241-3110 for international inquiries. All estimates are 100% FREE of charge and require no obligation on your part!

If you’re familiar with the term “RORO” as it relates to relates to the transport of goods and vehicles, you probably already have some idea how breakbulk shipping works. RORO is shorthand for “roll on, roll off” transport, which is the manner in which many vehicles are transported internationally. Just like other methods of breakbulk transport, RORO services are often implemented when it’s less efficient to load everything into containers. For example, if a ship is transporting a load of vehicle overseas, putting each on into a shipping container (if even possible depending on dimensions) is a more labor and time intensive process, not to mention that it takes up additional space that could be used for other vehicles.


While RORO is, in a sense, a form of breakbulk shipping, it is just one of the many approaches used. In cases where items are broken down into component pieces, they are usually placed in another type of container or crate for safety and ease of tracking. While it can be more time consuming to break items down for delivery in this fashion, the RORO method offers a way around this since items are simply lifted or rolled onto the cargo area of the ship.

Companies that offer breakbulk shipping services use reinforced loading decks and cranes or lifts to move cargo on and off the boat. This is necessary since these oversized and heavy items are not easy to move on and off of a transport carrier. While most breakbulk transport is done via ocean liner, it can also be applied to overland transport, either to move cargo from one place to another as an end-to-end service, or simply to transport goods to a shipping port where it can be quickly loaded for delivery.

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Joe Webster always knew the auto transport industry would be a great career option. And with decades of experience, Joe is now an established consultant for A1 Auto Transport.

Joe was born in Santa Cruz, California. During high school, Joe worked as a mechanic; a job continued to work part-time during his bachelor's degree.

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Mylene Rutllant
It’s my number one pick in auto shipping to this day.
★★★★★ choice in terms of auto transport has to be A1 Auto Transport. It’s in the name, but also in the quality with which they do their jobs. I’ve never had a problem with this company.

Luis Rodriguez
You have my full support and recommendation!

A1 Auto Transport... From the get go, they were very different from my past options. Their website was very professional and up to date, full of useful information. I requested a quote using their online form, and I got an email response within an hour. Surprisingly fast!

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Cristine Benoit
I can safely say this is a legit company that will get the job done.

There are a lot of options for auto transport these days, which surprisingly makes it harder to find a good company. I received more than 10 offers to ship my car, but I couldn’t decide on any of them... Fortunately, I made the right choice with A1 Auto Transport.

David Osallo
We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10!

We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10! We chose them to move our car from California to Vermont, since we needed professionals.

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A-1 Auto Transport is a disclosed agent for the following shipping companies:

Trans Global Auto Logistics, Inc.
3401 E Randol Mill Rd
Arlington, TX 76011
NO. 018191NF
CFR Rinkens
15501 Texaco Avenue
Paramount, CA 90723
NO. 013055NF
ABC Worldwide LLC
2840 NW 2nd Ave #105
Boca Raton, FL 33431
NO. 025472F
CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus Drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
ShipYourCarNow LLC
1160 South Rogers Circle Suite 1
Boca Raton, FL 33487
NO. 025646
Merco Air & Ocean Cargo, Inc.
6 Fir Way
Cooper City, FL 33026
NO. 021869F
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