A niche freight industry grows

The LNG freight carrier sector has huge ships that carry massive loads of volatile gases to destinations around the world. The industry employs smaller LNG carriers that like some smaller vessels in other ocean freight shipping industry sectors often work in a specialized niche industry within the larger LNG freight carrier industry. Smaller LNG carriers have in fact been transporting gases to destination for around 17 years, but the sector is currently going through a few growing pains of late as orders for smaller LNG carriers have grown. This sudden growth has created the belief in some freight industry professionals that business for smaller LNG carriers could be about to explode as the freight carrier industry travels farther into the century of the environment.

What’s driving the sudden growth in demand for smaller LNG carriers? It use to be that demand for coastal transport of LNG was contined to Japan for the most part. Lately though players in Northwest Europe, specifically the Baltic and Scandinavian regions of Europe, have been servicing isolated customers without access to other ways of transporting LNG. The 1,100-cbm Pioneer Knutsen is one smaller LNG carrier currently at work servicing a number of smaller terminals in these regions along the Norweigan coast, according to freight industry sources. Small LNG carriers like the Pioneer Knutsen also operate on low-sulphur fuels in these regions which have Emission Control Areas (ECAs) in place similar to recently proposed Emission Control Areas for Canada and North America. In addition, some of the newest small LNG carriers like the 7.500-cbm Coral Methane can actually use LNG as a fuel source, which reduces carbon emissions by about 20 percent and particle and nitrogen-oxides by close to 100 percent and 85 percent respectively.

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