A unit of China’s state-owned shipbuilding giant China State Shipbuilding Corp. (CSSC) is planning to build the world’s biggest liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanker in response to rising demand for the cleaner fuel in China and worldwide.
Shanghai-based Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding (Group) Co. Ltd., the CSSC unit, said earlier this week that it will work in partnership with the Norway-based maritime classification society DNV GL to develop a new vessel with the capacity to carry 270,000 cubic meters of LNG. Currently the world’s biggest LNG tanker, built by South Korea’s Samsung Heavy Industries Co., can carry 266,000 cubic meters of LNG.
Global trade in LNG by volume increased 5% year-on-year in 2018. China imported 53 million metric tons of LNG, 43% more than in the previous year, reflecting the country’s shift from fossil fuels to cleaner forms of energy. China is the world’s second-largest LNG importer after Japan. Experts estimated that China’s annual imports of LNG will reach 100 million metric tons by 2030.
Global shipping companies are adding capacity for LNG transport in response to the rising demand. In 2018, 550 LNG tankers were in operation worldwide with total capacity of 44 million deadweight tons, up 10.5% from 2017.
Caixin learned that it will take at least two years for Hudong-Zhonghua and DNV to complete research and development of the new vessel and for the Chinese shipbuilder to obtain a permit for construction. Hudong-Zhonghua is the only Chinese shipbuilder that has the capability to build LNG tankers and one of 13 global shipyards qualified for such a project.