Affinity facilitates first LNG freight swap
Trading specialist Affinity has facilitated the first LNG freight swap settled against the Baltic Exchange LNG spot assessments. "With liquidity increasing in the LNG market in recent years, freight has come under the spotlight as participants look to manage their exposure to vessel spot rates. Using the Baltic Exchange's rate assessments, we are able to help clients benchmark their freight exposure and develop a forward market for hedging price risk,” Benjamin Gibson, Head of LNG Derivatives at Affinity, said. The move is expected to bolster the case for LNG fuelling as it “represents an important milestone in the development of an LNG forward freight market”. "Initial trades are all about testing the settlement mechanism. Now is the time to try things and see how they work. We have lots of interest in the Baltic's forthcoming Atlantic routes and a weighted average of routes to give a global LNG freight benchmark," added Gibson.
Clarksons: LNG demand driving global fleet growth
Rapid growth in LNG infrastructure is fuelling an increase in the global fleet of LNG carriers, according to the latest data from consultancy Clarksons Research. The firm predicts that the global LNG carrier fleet will expand by 5.6% and 6.9% in 2019 and 2020 respectively, rising form a base of 570 vessels as at the end of June 2019. “Global trade in LNG continues its strong growth phase, with an expected 8.4% growth in 2019 and 7.4% in 2020… With 93 million tonnes per annum of export capacity under construction, and a further 313 mtpa of capacity at FEED, growth potential remains strong,” Steve Gordon, managing director at Clarksons Research, said. Longer term modelling by Clarksons also suggests that the LNG fleet will outnumber the VLCC fleet by 2026, with growing interest in small scale LNG, FSRU, FLNG and LNG as a marine fuel. “This trade expansion, combined with high day rates for vessels trading on the short term market over the past twelve months, has supported newbuilding orders totalling US$17 billion since start 2018 and helped build a total newbuilding orderbook of 25% of the fleet (US$24.5 billion),” he said. Clarksons forecasts that between three and four percent of world tonnage will be “LNG fuel capable through 2020”, with the majority still in LNG carrier sector. LNG infrastructure is also set to continue growing, with number of ports equipped with LNG bunkering having increased from approximately 20 to 100 in the past five years.
Virginia first U.S. port to join SEA/LNG
The U.S. Port of Virginia is the latest to join the SEA/LNG consortium as it plans to scale up LNG bunkering operations. The port is the first in the U.S. to join the multi-sector industry coalition and in in March established a working group to examine the benefit and scalability of LNG bunkers for maritime trade. “We’re very pleased to welcome the Port of Virginia as our first US port member. The US has vastly increased its LNG export capacity since the industry really took flight in early 2016, inspiring development in LNG bunkering capabilities on the East and West Coasts. The addition of the Port of Virginia to the coalition marks the climbing interest in LNG as a commercially viable, environmentally sustainable fuel for US domestic and international shipping,” Peter Keller, Chairman, SEA\LNG, said. SEA\LNG’s mission is to address the key barriers to the adoption of LNG; advocating for collaboration, demonstration, and communication amongst industry players. The coalition includes ABS, Carnival Corporation, DNV GL, Eagle LNG Partners, ENGIE, ENN Group, GE, GTT, JAX LNG, Keppel Gas Technology, Lloyd’s Register, Mitsubishi, NYK Line, Port of Rotterdam, Qatargas, Shell, Total, TOTE, Toyota Tsusho, YKIP, Marubeni, and Wärtsilä.