What is a break bulk point?
A break bulk point divides a large shipment into several small individual deliveries. A logistics hub is often used in multi-tier logistics systems. In this case, goods are often transported multimodally or intermodally. Single-tier logistics systems have no interruptions and so do not use break bulk points.
What distinguishes it from a consolidation point
A consolidation point does the exact opposite. It is the place where several smaller shipments are collected, combined into a larger unit and then delivered to the consignee. Both methods can be combined in a supply chain with a multi-tier logistics system: Individual shipments are first brought to the consolidation point and combined into one large unit. Next, this consolidated shipment is brought to the break bulk point and broken down into new partial shipments. Finally, the partial shipments are delivered to their recipients on various vehicles.
Break bulk point in practice
Parcels are a common use case for break bulk points. The parcels are first collected in warehouses, divided based on their destination addresses and transported to the various distribution centres. They are then loaded into individual delivery vehicles and delivered to their recipients.
Regional hauliers are sometimes brought in at the break bulk point in order to simplify communication with the shipper.