MOL Starts LNG Carrier Ship Management in Hong Kong
Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. has announced that its newly established liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier management company, MOL LNG Transport (Asia) Ltd. (MOLLNG (Asia)), has begun ship management operations with its first vessel, effective April 18.
MOLLNG (Asia) was established in Hong Kong in September 2015. As MOL becomes involved in the operation of a growing number of LNG carriers, it intends to play a central role in ship management, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, to meet an anticipated increase in LNG shipments bound for Asia.
LNG carrier freight rates have come under severe pressure due to rising fleet supply and stabilizing LNG demand, according to a report from Drewry, the London-based shipping consultancy.
Among other supplies, 49 million tons of Australian LNG are expected to hit the market yearly over the next two years. At the same time, Japan is preparing to restart its nuclear power plants, reducing global demand for LNG. Seventeen percent of global liquefaction capacity remained unutilized during the second quarter 2015, according to Drewry.
The LNG fleet continues to rise, with 30 more vessels delivered in the fourth quarter of 2015 and a total of 41 expected this year. “The majority are yet to secure dedicated employment,” said the Drewry report. “At present, around 30 to 40 vessels are sitting idle.”
Currently, MOL is involved in the operation of about 70 LNG carriers, and aims to further expansion its fleet. It continues to take a proactive stance in providing safe, reliable LNG transport services for customers and in Japan and overseas, by utilizing the experience, know-how, and networks developed as the world’s leading LNG carrier owner and ship management company.
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