TradeWinds: LNG shipping rates head to ‘steady state’

Abdullah Alazzaz

4 June 2018: 

“LNG freight rates are poised to continue their cyclical recovery in the near-term, but uncertainty over the start of new sources of supply cloud the longer term impact, three of the industry’s leading figures have said.

From a trough in early 2016 freight rates have moved up and are set to rise further, said John Angelicoussis, Greece’s biggest shipowner and head of Maran Gas Maritime which operates 26 LNG carriers.

“I feel the bottom of the market was in early 2016,” he told a seminar in Athens today on the future of LNG shipping arranged by ABS.

“From there we’ve had higher rates depending on the season, and in the winter they may go higher than last.”

Peter Livanos, chairman of GasLog, the US-listed LNG owner, said that while the short-term outlook was firmer, further out was less certain.

“We are in a short-term tightening cycle,” he said. “But in the medium and long-term rates will be capped.”

He described the market as heading towards a “steady state”.

With about 528 LNG vessels in operation and another 90 on order – equal to about 20% of the fleet – the supply and demand balance remains delicate, commented moderator Michael Tusiani, chairman emeritus of US broker Poten & Partners.

“There are more vessels, more destinations and more tonne miles,” said George Procopiou, founder of Dynagas. “I would not be comfortable without at least a long-term target for business.”

Gas export and import projects have a track record of running late, while LNG carriers are usually delivered on time, said Livanos.

“There are very reliable delays on the one side and reliable deliveries on the other. We have two, three or four years’ line of sight (on projects), but not much after that. It’s likely to be uncertain.”

Tusiani said market projections suggested global LNG trade growing by around 3% a year until 2030 lifting total cargo from 290m tonnes to 425m tonnes” 

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