BGL Insider Special Report

Maritime & Offshore Newsletter: Chemical Tankers

The international shipping industry has the ability to offer economic and efficient long-distance transportation for fluids, such as oil, chemical, LPG, and CNG. The transportation of these products is very important in the global economy, and tanker shipping is one of the most convenient and economical ways to carry fluids across the globe. The shipping industry transports nearly 12 billion tons of goods each year. In developed regions like the European Union, the shipping industry accounted for 80% of total import and export volume and 50% of its value in 2019.

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The chemical tanker market is a very fragmented one, with over 600 companies operating in the sector and only a few major companies dominating the market. Furthermore, pools are formed for a homogenous and commoditized services while giving owners regular cash flow and long-term security.

Another characteristic of the chemical tanker market involves swing tonnage. Swing tonnage comprises vessels which are usually involved in the oil products trade but may also “swing” into parts of the chemical trade when economical. As chemicals are less volatile, usually MRs can swing across to chemicals if earnings get too low.

The chemical tanker market will have to adapt to stricter environmental regulations concerning greenhouse gas emissions, including substantial investments and compliance rules.

  • The emergence of innovative technologies for tanker modification, and globalization, are the major factors fueling the demand for shipping tankers and ultimately driving the shipping market. The growing demand for fluids, gases, and chemicals across the globe has led to an increase in demand for shipping tankers. However, government norms, irregular distribution channels, and the growing prices of customized tankers and oil prices are the major challenges in the industry.
  • Globally, in the shipping industry, chemical tankers play an important role in transporting various organic chemicals (Methanol, Para-Xylene, Xylenes, Ethlyene Glycol, Styrene, and Benzene), inorganic chemicals (Sulphuric Acid, Caustic Soda, and Phosphoric Acid) and vegetable oil. Such tankers are designed to maintain the consistency of the substances that are being shipped. Various kinds of tankers, such as stainless steel and coated chemical tankers, are used to ship bulk chemicals.
  • Low cost of shipping is the major reason for transporting the chemicals via sea. Moreover, the rising capacities of chemical manufacturers, and a growing chemical industry in the emerging economies, demand efficient solutions for transportation. Increased production of chemicals in Asia-Pacific and a growing demand for chemicals creates additional opportunities for the chemical tanker industry.

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