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Ship shortage threatens Asian LNG market growth

Vessel supply not keeping pace with surging demand for spot charters

TOKYO -- In the growing market for liquefied natural gas, driven mainly by Asian demand, a shortage of transport vessels could become a bottleneck. While demand for LNG shipments to China is steadily growing as the country increases its consumption of eco-friendly natural gas, the supply of ships is not keeping pace with growing demand for spot charters. 

Spot charter rates for LNG carriers with a tank capacity of 150,000-170,000 cu. meters stood at the $190,000 per day range in November, five times higher than in early May. The market environment has changed considerably since 2015-2016, when the rates were around $20,000-30,000 per day amid anxiety about a glut of vessels.

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