Breakbulk Americas is an event for those involved in the project cargo and breakbulk industry that is focused on companies and projects from Canada down to Argentina and the Caribbean.

It takes place in September in Houston, US, and features more than 200 exhibitors, a two-day conference programme and networking activities.

Swedish firm Elme Spreader will be among those companies exhibiting. This year it has launched the model 818 Innovation WTP, a New Generation telescopic top lift spreader for handling of laden ISO, WTP (wide twistlock position) and US-domestic containers weighing up to 45t.

The spreader is designed for use under a gantry at the front of a lift truck.

The product features two parallel telescopic beams, assuring maximum overlap, the company says. The beam sections are dimensioned to absorb not only the vertical, but also considerable horizontal forces, while the Innovation range’s latest design offers increased structural strength and reduced weight, and is estimated to have an increased life expectancy of 30% related to fatigue resistance and standard load case conditions. The reduced spreader weight enables improvements on the lift truck design.

The previous generation’s twistlock system, manufactured in a rugged design, carries its benefits into the New Generation of spreaders, of which the 818 Innovation WTP is one. It also has hardened ISO quick exchange pendular twistlocks that are hydraulically activated with mechanical interlocking against faulty locking and unlocking.

Four telescopic hangers connect the spreader to the gantry. Elme says gravity assures the level position of the spreader. The hangers will allow the spreader to automatically adapt to containers on trailers or on uneven ground. Telescoping is powered by one hydraulic cylinder for each end beam and sideshift is executed by one hydraulic cylinder. The slew and reach motions are possible thanks to two hydraulic cylinders that connect the spreader to the gantry. By powering either one or both cylinders, the slew and reach functions are activated.

The WTP option built into the spreader endbeams allows the operator to hydraulically change the twistlock positions to handle ISO and US-domestic containers as well as WTP containers.

Meanwhile, also launched this year, the model 857 Innovation is the New Generation intermodal top lift spreader for the handling of laden ISO containers and trailers weighing up to 45t. It is designed for use with reachstackers.

Like the 818 it also features two parallel telescopic beams and offers the same highlights listed above too.

The leg arrangement is a load clamping system that involves all four foldable piggyback legs in an automatic sequence. Thanks to this feature the spreader can be lowered between containers that are block stacked front to front and side to side. Sensors integrated in the feet detect when the trailer is clamped. To avoid unintentional unclamping, a signal is also sent as soon as the container/trailer is lifted off the ground.

In other news, Elme Spreader has revealed it has been awarded the Diamond Diploma for Highest Creditworthiness. The company is one of the 258 businesses, of Sweden’s total of 651,798 limited companies, that has received this recognition. A company with a diamond diploma has retained highest creditworthiness for at least 20 years.


Finland’s Konecranes will also be exhibiting in Houston having has secured an order in the spring worth more than €130m to supply 36 automated stacking cranes (ASCs) to the Port of Virginia on the US East Coast.

The ASCs are earmarked for the port’s Norfolk International Terminals North Terminal project and will be delivered in two batches of 18 units. The first batch is slated to arrive by mid-2025 and the second by mid-2027.

Norfolk International Terminals is the Virginia Port Authority’s largest terminal, occupying some 567 acres of terrain.

The port ordered its first batch of 30 ASCs from Konecranes in 2007, followed by a further 86 units in 2016.

“By placing this latest order, the Virginia Port Authority – owner and operator of the Port of Virginia’s five general cargo terminals – is once again showing its unwavering trust in the capabilities of Konecranes to deliver dependable and effective terminal solutions,” Konecranes said in a statement.

According to the company, the order highlights its commitment to its Ecolifting and Path to Port Automation initiatives, which aim to reduce clients’ carbon footprints by offering innovative and eco-friendly solutions while concurrently aligning port equipment with their visions for yard automation.


Another company taking an exhibition stand is Liebherr. In July, it delivered a LH 110 port litronic material handler to Middle River Marine (MRM), at its largest terminal in South Chicago off of the Calumet river. Primarily serving the Illinois and Northwest Indiana markets, MRM will use this large machine for handling material, such as pig iron, to then be transported by rail, truck, or barge across the nation.

To celebrate this handover, MRM hosted over 60 attendees at its 80-acre terminal site to recognise the newest addition of it growing Liebherr fleet of 15-plus machines.

“The main criteria we factored into this purchase is Liebherr’s history of providing dependable, fuel efficient, state-of-the-art equipment backed by quality service and a longstanding relationship in business,” noted Pete Colangelo, MRM vice president of terminal operations.

President of Middle River Marine, Aaron Halcomb, added: “We are extremely excited to partner with Liebherr to expand our fleet and handling capabilities to better serve our customers. Liebherr has become a trusted partner in business to ensure we have dependable, capable, state-of-the-art equipment to meet rigorous demands of our business.”

MRM is a fully integrated bulk material logistics service provider, serving primarily the construction materials, agricultural products, and industrial commodities bulk markets in the Chicagoland region.


Earlier this year, Hoist reported that JLT Mobile Computers had announced that its Verso Series of vehicle-mounted terminals (VMTs) has passed Navis Ready validation for the latest version of the Navis N4 terminal operating system (TOS).

Navis, which will be attending Breakbulk Americas, is a Kaleris premier brand for port, terminal, carrier and vessel solutions, while Kaleris is a cloud-based supply chain execution and visibility technology, which offers a global platform that unlocks operating data, connects workflows and increases visibility to improve the entire shipment life cycle. Navis brand technology can link the busiest nodes in the global supply chain to the Kaleris platform.

Last year, the two companies merged, according to the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals’ Supply Chain Quarterly. It reports that both supply chain software firms were already owned by venture capital firm Accel-KKR.

The move pulled Navis’s port, terminal, and vessel technology solutions into Atlanta-based Kaleris’s family of supply chain execution solutions for yard management, transportation management, and maintenance and repair operations.


OTH Pioneer Rigging will be attending the event and showcasing its range of remotecontrolled hooks.

Available in two models, a LudwigHook has a working load limit of 4,400lbs, while the XL is rated for 11,600lbs. Each hook weighs 6lbs and built to withstand harsh outdoor environments. The company says the hooks can be used in a choker configuration with wire ropes or nylon slings, any kind of basket hitch, and with spreader bars or lifting frames. When using a basket configuration, the lifting capacity of the system doubles.

World Cargo News reported in June that Breakbulk Americas exhibitor Sany is to deliver six rubber-tyred gantry (RTG) cranes to the TraPac terminal at the Port of Oakland. According to the report, the RTGs have been very tightly specified by a USbased crane consultant, with components including ABB drives and controls and coatings and paint from Hempel. It is understood the cranes are to have no Chinese-made software or IoT technology.

Another exhibitor at the show, DP World – a global ports and terminals, marine services, logistics and technology firm – is to accelerate its adoption of renewable energy at the Port of Santos, Brazil’s multipurpose private terminal, initially through replacing diesel fuel with electric power for the terminal’s (RTG container handling cranes. A total of 22 ZPMC dieselfuelled units will be electrified by the end of next year, representing an investment of over R$80m ($16.2m).

The first RTG machine in the fleet already operates sustainably on 100% electric power and by the end of 2023 another four machines will be converted as part of the company’s global strategy to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040.

There are several participants in the electrification process, including Conductix Wampfler for the electrification system, WEG for the substations, and DP World Santos for engineering and management. The electrification process works through a system of overhead cables.

DP World is investing $35m this year to expand and modernise the Santos facility. The expansion will increase annual container handling capacity from 1.2 million to 1.4 million TEUs and expand the size of the quay from 1,100m to 1,300m.

Also attending the show will be heavy lift companies such as Apex Specialized Rigging & Moving, Pro-Tech Industrial Movers, Barnhart, and Buckingham Transport.


Of course, Breakbulk Americas isn’t just about the exhibitors. For example, the event will host a Women in Breakbulk Breakfast on Wednesday morning – this is a meeting place for women to make connections with female colleagues – while this year’s edition of Breakbulk America’s Education Day will inform, inspire and entice students about what breakbulk and project cargo is, how it is handled, where the cargo often moves as well as the kind of opportunities that are available in the sector.

The Breakbulk Main Stage will showcase business opportunities, strategy and answers to the most pressing industry questions. It will feature leading breakbulk and project executives who will provide insights into the latest business and trade intelligence, as well as delve deeper into key markets, sectors and issues affecting the whole supply chain.

Topics include, for example, an Industry Sector Review: Mining, Oil & Gas, Renewables and Manufacturing. This series of short presentations will provide updates on the current state of play across the four key sectors. In Latin America Spotlight: Outlook, Projects, and Opportunities, meanwhile, Latin American experts will provide an overview on opportunities in key countries in the region, as well as share their insights and predictions on hot spots and where this region is headed over the coming years. Similary, the Breakbulk and Project Cargo Opportunities in the Gulf of Mexico will provide an overview of the status of projects and opportunities in the Gulf of Mexico and present the outlook over the coming years.

As the breakbulk industry is heavily impacted by wider economic trends, insight on the economic outlook is essential for predicting what might be ahead and calculating risk. In the Economic Outlook session, a leading economist will discuss the state of the global economy and assess the big factors driving economics, trade and supply chains in the next six to 12 months.

Digitalisation and technological advancements are changing the nature of business across all sectors on a global scale, albeit the speed and methods of transitioning has not been uniform. This has led to a disconnect between players across the supply chain, which has at times hindered how much progress is possible. Progress in the Digitalisation in the Breakbulk Sector: Expectation vs Reality will bring together key stakeholders, who will discuss what type of investments are currently being made, the reach and usage of key systems in the market, and what compromises must be made to achieve more efficient advances in digitalisation.

Finally, in The Journey Towards Decarbonisation: Progress, Challenges and Opportunities, a panel will analyse what the best and most viable options are in the next steps toward decarbonisation.

Where: George R. Brown Convention Center, Houston, Texas
When: 26-28 September 2023
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