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Shipping’s surge and splurge

Spot rates should stay below 2018 peaks as more newbuilds come into service

The world is perennially awash in tankers, a welcome state of affairs for energy commodity shippers in need of cheap, readily available transport, and an unwelcome one for ship owners, who often struggle to break even. But LNG shipping is the exception to the rule-cargo demand has recently exceeded LNG tanker supply and shippers could face ongoing transport constraints and high costs in 2019. During an unprecedented shipping crunch in October-November 2018, freight rates for spot vessels hit $200,000/d-an all-time record that topped the levels seen after 2011's Fukushima disaster. "There came a point where there were zero ships available. Everything was spoken for," IHS Markit LNG analyst A

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