The liquefied natural gas (LNG) fuelled fleet has tripled in size over the last 10 years, speeding up recently due to recently introduced deadline of 2020 for the 0.5% sulphur cap for marine fuel, says maritime consultancy Clarkson Research Services Limited.
It noted of 403 ships in the fleet and 272 on order, as of start April 2018, being equipped with LNG capable engines.
“While this number has grown quickly, driven by owners opting for LNG ahead of the global SOx cap (LNG reduces SOx emissions, as well as NOx and CO2), it is a small share of the total fleet (0.4%) and orderbook (7.8%),” it explains.
“Most of the combined total is accounted for by LNG carriers (59%), powered by boil-off gas from their cargo tanks.”
The remaining 41% (of non-LNG carriers) is growing at a firmer pace.
“While the fleet of LNG carriers powered by LNG fuel has grown by 6% between the start of 2016 and 2018, the fleet of LNG capable ships in all other sectors has grown by 67% in the same period.”
According to the report, the growth has been seen in ‘niche’ sectors such as ferries, cruise and OSVs where Norwegian owners account for the largest share of LNG capable ships in other sectors (24%).
The shares of US and Canadian owners are also supported by other sectors such as ferries and cruise.
Although the number of LNG capable units remain limited in these sectors, a number of ‘LNG ready’ ships have also been ordered, enabling some flexibility over the final decision on using LNG and limiting the initial investment.
“As of start April 2018, there were a reported 67 ‘LNG ready’ units in the fleet and 72 on order, with 83% of the combined total accounted for by bulkers, tankers and boxships,” it notes.
“Chinese owners account for 22% of the total, with Korean and US owners accounting for 15% and 13% respectively.”
“So, the size of the LNG capable fleet has initially been largely driven by LNG carriers,” it states.
“But more recently, growth has been driven by ‘niche’ sectors and now the major volume sectors could play a larger role too, including through the potential conversion of ‘LNG ready’ units.”
Photo credit: Clarkson Research Services Limited
Published: 30 April, 2018
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