The LNG carrier market is expected to grow at a CAGR of approximately 3.6% during the forecast period of 2020 – 2025. LNG carriers are the tank ships designed to carry Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) at a cryogenic temperature of -161?C. Factors such as flexible deployment capabilities, increased efficiency are expected to drive the market in the coming years. Global consumption of LNG is expected to grow at a significant rate during the forecast period, driven by supportive government regulations and increasing demand. With the new carrier fleet entering the market and with regional shipping imbalances, there has been a fluctuation in the charter rates of the carries. This factor is expected to hinder the market growth.
- Membrane containment was the largest segment of the global LNG carrier market in 2018, owing to its higher carrying capacity and increased visibility. This is expected continue to dominate the market studied during the forecast period.
- Many terminals are adjusting to accommodate small-scale and bunkering vessels to comply with emissions targets and capture new commercial opportunities. Conventional oil-based fuels will remain the main fuel option for most vessels in the near future, and, at the same time, the commercial opportunities of LNG are much interesting for many projects.
- Asia Pacific is expected to dominate the market with majority of the demand coming from the countries such as China and Japan.
Key Market Trends
Membrane Type Containment to Dominate the Market
- The membrane type segment has the largest market share in 2018, accounting for more than 50% of the market in 2018, owing to its higher carrying capacity and increased visibility. This containment segment is expected to dominate the global market throughout the forecast period.
- The most common membrane tank systems have been designed by Gaztransport and Technigaz (GTT). Several GTT systems have already been implemented on board of LNG carriers for many years and other designs from different companies have been developed.
- At the end of 2018, 67% of the active fleet had a GTT membrane type containment system which also continues to lead the orderbook as the preferred containment option for 91% of vessels on order.
- Due to technological advancement, the membrane type containment has superior capacity to bear the large pressure of LNG and its compact shape to carry large LNG volumes as compared to moss type containment.
- Therefore, with largest market share and existing fleet by containment type (active), the demand for LNG carrier market is expected to grow significantly over the forecast period.
Asia Pacific to Dominate the Market
- Asia Pacific accounted for the largest LNG Carrier market share in 2018, owing to increased demand for natural gas because of high industrial growth and adoption of clean energy sources. Therefore, this region is expected to continue its dominance in the market throughout the forecast period.
- China is building the largest liquefied natural gas carrier with a capacity of 270,000 cubic meters, in order to meet the rising demand for the clean fuel in the country. China’s LNG import is still severely dependent on foreign LNG carriers, with external capacity dependence rate of around 60%. Only 13 shipyards were able to produce them across the world.
- China imported more than 53 million metric ton of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in 2018, a 43% increase compared to 2017, reaching a new historical high by accounting for 60% of the total natural gas import. In 2018, more than 230 million metric ton of LNG was imported. Therefore, this made China an important contributor in the global LNG industry’s development and prosperity.
- The longest voyage undertaken in 2018 was from Sabine Pass LNG to Sakai, Japan around the Cape of Good Hope – a distance of 15,520 nm, with the shortest voyage being a more traditional route from Algeria to Spain, at 130 nm. The most common voyage was from Australia to Japan, with 469 voyages completed during the year 2018.
- The growing LNG consumption by various end-user industries, such as manufacturing, petrochemicals, and fertilizers is on a consistent rise in China and South Korea whereas; Japan prevalently consumes LNG for power generation.
The global LNG carriers market is fragmented. Some of the major companies include Royal Dutch Shell plc, (Shell), Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK), Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL), Misc Berhad (Misc), and Teekay Corporation.
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