Yorck Niclas Prehm, Head of Research, Toepfer Transport GmBH

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Yorck Niclas Prehm, Head of Research, Toepfer Transport GmBH

In the multipurpose vessel (MPV) and breakbulk sector, 2023 was a good year but remained below expectations. The delay of various projects and the non-appearance of the expected surge in demand for cargo space from the wind power sector — as well as the low activity in the minor bulk markets — have blurred the results. In the second half of the year, we monitored an increase of activity on the vessel newbuildings side, but the orderbook remains small and the pace of the inevitable transition to a green and modern fleet remains fairly slow.

The economic environment for energy and infrastructure projects is becoming more and more difficult. With interest rates now above inflation rates, the economic viability of many large projects is questionable. This may have a direct impact on the future demand for MPV tonnage. There are high political targets for the renewables sector in many countries. Whether these targets can be met depends on the economics of the single projects as well as the ability of the supply chain to deliver.

The positive outlook and the increasing activity from the oil and gas sector will help to mitigate the effects of uncertainties and probable delays from the renewables sector, but it is unclear whether this will stabilize freight rates.

We can be sure that for the MPV sector, 2024 will be much more exciting than 2023, and we’re looking forward to seeing what strategies market stakeholders develop to deal with the upcoming challenges.