For the fourth edition in a row One World Shipbroker’s Market Sentiment Index (MSI) for the multipurpose sector has fallen and now stands at 53.1 which is 5.7 points – or 10.7 percent – below the peak of Q1 2022 and at a level not seen since the early summer of 2021.

One world MSi

Image source: One World Shipbroker; Market Sentiment Index (MSI)

According to One World Shipbrokers: “As the market continues to rebalance itself all eyes are fixed forward and looking ahead with some confidence at the start of a new phase. General consensus among the carrier community supports the view that the worst point is now being passed – even if the bottom hasn’t quite been found yet.”

Six-month expectations have polled higher than any other question for the first time. Spot vessel availability has noticeably increased recently in all geographical sectors as the softer Q4 2022 booking season leaves its mark and viable backhauls thin out.

With Chinese exports still lagging, inflation biting, and poaching cross trades increasing, shippers have reason enough to stall their short-term decisions, said One World Shipbrokers.

There is evidence, however, that high paying legacy COA’s and forward bookings have been supporting many carriers and operators through this softer period.

Nearly all respondents believe that the breakbulk market will be strong later in the year, driven by a series of petrochemical mega-project start-ups and increasing renewables/energy demand.

For a longer-term view, respondents to this edition point to an MSI of 53.5 at the end of 2023. “Whilst this is not far from where we are now it does support the thesis that extreme volatility is giving way to calmer conditions and more transparent markets,” added One World Shipbrokers.