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What are the strategies for a successful break bulk? To a layman, the term break bulk may be vague and confusing. However, break bulk meaning is far easier to understand. Break bulk is derived from the term breaking bulk. It refers to the extraction of a portion of a cargo of a ship which is transported in barrels, drums, crates, boxes, or bags.

Break bulk makes moving large and heavy goods such as timber, heavy machinery, paper pulp, steel slabs, and others easier. Cargo is moved in smaller units, and it allows goods to enter minimally developed ports as well. Not only does the break bulk transportation deliver heavy goods, but it is also suitable for peculiar shaped products as well. 

Break bulk strategies for transportation success

Break bulk transportation has been efficiently moving cargo from one destination to another for several years. It was in existence even before container shipping was introduced to the industry. Though container shipping is the most reliable and cost-effective method of ocean freight forwarding, there are some things that cannot be shipped in containers, such as large and heavy items and awkwardly shaped items that don’t fit in a container.

Several companies that are pioneers in offering break bulk transportation are formulating strategies to ensure break bulk transportation success. Some of these strategies or break bulk tips include the following:

1. Supply chain tie-ups

What would you rather have- steady inflow of business projects or individual projects that may or may not bring more business? Stability is attained by supply chain tie-ups. A supply chain is a network between a company and its suppliers. It is a network to produce and distribute specific products to the final buyers. A supply chain begins from the accumulation of raw materials to the end product reaching the hands of the consumer. There are several aspects in a supply chain, and being a part of it is not an easy task.

A business must aim at being a part of a client’s supply chain. A supply chain tie-up makes a business successful in break bulk transportation. But it also requires the business to have a break bulk facility. As a break bulk facility, your first target must be a steady flow of business to be a break bulk transportation successful terminal.

2. Reduced operational expenditure

How to make a success of break bulk services? It’s fairly easy and eminently obvious that for any company in the break bulk business to make a success of break bulk service is to reduce its operational expenditure. It is a primary step in the success of a break bulk terminal, which ensures sustainability and competitiveness. With an increase in a volatile market and increasing competition, break bulk terminals are expected to focus on delivering effective and cost-effective solutions.

How can a company reduce its operational cost?

  • By embracing technology and technological development
  • By outsourcing certain business practices
  • Use a bidding system to choose a cost-effective vendor
  • By making use of the discounts offered by vendors for early payment of invoices
  • Identification of inefficiencies and taking the rightful action
  • Cancellation of unused services
  • By taking environmentally friendly steps that will also reduce the carbon footprint

3. Increased efficiency through digitization

The operation strategies of break bulk companies must concentrate on becoming a part of the client supply chain, which is made easier by digitization. Handling only the cargo will not take the business from the ground up. Successful break bulk facilities that are entrenched in the supply chains of their clients are efficiently reaping the benefits of automation as well.

The break bulk service is serving a niche market, and digitisation offers potential in the sector. As supply chain tie-ups are extremely complex, they require technical help in each step. Digitisation can deal with supply chain complexities and be able to provide opportunities for growth and development.

4. Flexible port capacity

A wide range of economic activities was once served by break bulk operations, which resulted in sustainable and stable growth in the sector. Its growth was tied up to the economic activities, just like container terminals in the present times. The operating conditions became volatile after the transition of break bulk to niche operations and strategies, as operations became tied to individual clients and projects.

If break bulk operations have to flourish in a port, then the port authorities must be flexible and work together with the break bulk operators as well as other logistics players active in the industry. If port authorities play hand-in-hand with break bulk operators, it will result in complementary cash flow. 

Flexible port capacity is an interesting way to capture the upswings in an unstable and unpredictable market. Flexible arrangements to accommodate break bulk operations may increase management time, but it helps to bring in more business.

5. Ability to adapt

Every business must have the ability to adapt to change. A successful break bulk strategy is being able to change for better, and not expect the customers to accept the services as it is. There has been a lot of change in the way business is run from its inception to now. If things were run as it were when break bulk business began, then the business would never exist. It is only with adaptability to change that the break bulk business is successful in transporting cargo from one destination to another.

Break bulk transportation business can be a success by adopting the strategies mentioned, the most important being adaptability. Without the ability to adapt to change, any business cannot compete with increasing demands in the market.

 

Learn about The State of the Road & Break Bulk Industry in Africa.