Earlier this week, I interviewed a woman who runs a pioneering project forwarding business in China. We were talking about breakbulk and project cargo on the Yangtze river, and she mentioned that she occasionally sees a particular heavy-lift carrier’s vessels loading extremely heavy modules at the river’s fabrication yards. These modules, bound for capital projects in Australia and elsewhere, are the product of a trend we’ve tracked extensively in Breakbulk Magazine, that of building gigantic modules offsite and transporting them to remote locations for installation.
As it happens, I interviewed a US-based operations manager with that ocean carrier a year or so ago for a Breakbulk magazine cover story. I shot him an email, and he immediately said he’d be happy to put me in touch with the carrier’s Shanghai office. Next step: seeing if someone from that office is interested in being on our Yangtze River panel at Breakbulk China, our next major conference.
This is my seventh year writing about this business, and I am still fascinated by the web of economic relationships that make up the breakbulk world. It’s geographically boundless, but somehow still a small world. It’s a petri dish for the study of supply and demand, and a web of tough-minded, hard-working, fascinating people.