Waterborne LPG Trade Reaches 28.2MT
Global waterborne LPG trade reached 28.2 million tons, 14.1% growth year over year, said Singapore-headquartered BW LPG.
Global LPG trade continues to be driven by the U.S. waterborne LPG exports which grew to 10.5 million tons, up 21.8% year over year, said the owner and operator of LPG vessels.
Middle Eastern exports were down marginally by 0.6% year over year to 10.2 million tons. Exports from both Saudi Arabia and Iran fell; the decreased volumes were offset by increased exports from U.A.E and Qatar.
In Q3, the increasing LPG export volumes were absorbed by Southeast Asia, Japan and Europe. Imports to China and India remained stable.
LPG imports to Southeast Asia increased significantly by 51.7% to 2.9 million tons, driven by Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam. Year to date Southeast Asian imports have reached 8.0 million tons, 33.6% higher year over year.
Chinese imports decreased marginally by 0.5% to 23.3 million tons in Q3. However, year to date Chinese LPG imports reached 15.0 million tons, 13.2% higher than the same period last year. Year to date imports to India reached 10.4 million tons, 10.5% higher year over year.
Meanwhile, in the third quarter, three Very Large Gas Carrier (VLGC) newbuilds were delivered and none were recycled, representing a 5.7% growth in the number of vessels year over year. VLGC is LPG ship with capacity above 60,000 cbm
The global VLGC newbuild order-book ended Q3 2019 with 41 vessels, equivalent to 14.7% of the total VLGC fleet of 278 vessels. Five vessels are expected to be delivered in the remainder of 2019, 19 in 2020 and 17 vessels in 2021. We identified four recycling candidates for 2020 and 2021.
"We foresee the coming IMO 2020 regulation to have a positive impact on VLGC rates, mainly as a significant number of VLGCs are expected to be docked for scrubber retrofits. This further supports our positive freight outlook for the remainder of 2019 and 2020. However, for the longer term, we maintain our view that sustained U.S. LPG production growth and no further newbuild orders remain key to a balanced VLGC market," said the company.