OBO Vessels

Typically, a bulk ship would transport dry freight. Wet cargo, such as oil, would be transported on a tanker instead. The ocean vessel that could do both would be known as an OBO Vessel. The OBO is an abbreviation for Oil-Bulk-Ore. In the world of ocean freight shipping, the OBO Vessel was the ultimate combination of a tanker and bulk shipment vessel. For many decades, the OBO vessel was popular when traveling to international markets that were known for their oil or ore exports. And the best part about an OBO was their versatility since they were able to switch between wet or dry cargo onboard.

Unfortunately, the OBO ships were not going to be a long-term solution for the logistics industry. And for years now, the number of OBO vessels in the World has decreased due to declining popularity. The reason for fewer OBO vessels in today’s shipping world is twofold. First, it’s simply too expensive for carriers to make the switch on an OBO vessel between dry and wet shipments. With the freight shipping industry focusing so much on rates, the added expenses of an OBO ship are too costly. Second, it takes longer to load and unload the freight on an OBO ship. This vessel has a smaller opening that does not work well for the type of shipments on board. Thus, it takes longer to put the freight on the ship. OBO ships are not completely extinct however. They still exist and some companies prefer them.