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Breakbulk March 2023

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22 The Journal of Commerce | March 2023 www.joc.com Breakbulk & Project Cargo multipurpose/heavy-lift fleet, com- peting fleets, market demand, and market sentiment. That should — in time — allow us to create a Journal of Commerce breakbulk index. Beyond the data gold mine of S&P Global, another draw that brought me to the Journal of Commerce was the promise of becoming more involved with our annual breakbulk and project cargo conference, which will this year be held April 19-21 in New Orleans. The sector analysis panel remains my "baby," and this year we are planning a discussion that includes forecasts from me and two other prominent sector analysts, plus a discussion of how these forecasts are derived and used. I will also moderate sessions on inland transport and on ports and terminals and will have the great pleasure of sharing the stage with Peter Tirschwell, senior vice president of maritime and trade at S&P Global, to discuss how competing shipping sectors a•ect the breakbulk market. After more than 25 years as a dedicated and highly special - ized industry analyst — and even though I am not a great one for change — the opportunity to come to the Journal of Commerce was just too good to miss. I am looking for- ward to increasing and improving the Journal of Commerce's break- bulk data and analysis.l email: susan.oatway@spglobal.com Susan Oatway then move on to the analysis of cargo demand, an aspect of breakbulk ship- ping that's even more challenging to define than fleet makeup! The wealth of data in-house at S&P Global, parent company of the Journal of Commerce, is such that it will take me some time to sort through it all. In February, I attended the Breakbulk Middle East conference in Dubai, where I moderated a panel session and had the opportunity to do some valuable networking. At the event, carriers and shippers alike seemed cautiously optimis- tic — even if they were not quite in agreement about market levels. This kind of anecdotal input, gleaned from contacts across the industry, has always been an important ingre- dient in my analyses. I believe that any model that attempts to forecast market conditions must include some form of market sentiment. Ultimately, the aim is to produce a forecast tailored for the breakbulk sector that takes into account the ONE OF THE first things I have been tasked to do in my new role as break- bulk and project cargo research ana- lyst for the Journal of Commerce is to provide an analysis of the breakbulk fleet for the Global Gateway, our new data library organized by trade lane, mode, and topic. To do this, I first need to answer some questions that may seem simple, such as, "How do we define a multipurpose vessel?" and "What constitutes a heavy-lift ship?" Because this sector includes a diverse range of ship types carrying a multitude of cargoes, the answers to these questions are anything but straightforward. The definition of a multipurpose ship should include criteria like crane capability, number of decks, and container capacity, at the very least. Some years ago, I spent time with a group of carriers attempting to clarify these definitions. I want to begin here at the Journal of Com - merce by revisiting and updating this clarification. As such, I will be asking these questions of the main breakbulk players to achieve an industry consensus; please contact me if you want to be included in these conversations. Once we've reached a consensus definition, we will add regular fleet analysis to the breakbulk shipping section of the Global Gateway. I will Defining breakbulk How do we define a multipurpose vessel? What constitutes a heavy-li• ship? COMMENTARY ZHMURCHAK / Shutterstock.com

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