First publishedon www.AggBusiness.com
According to the latest update of the World Cement, Clinker & Slag Sea-Based Trade Report from CW Research, more than 174 million tons (157.85 million tonnes) of cementitious materials were traded by sea-going vessels in 2016.
The trade volumes grew 1.3% compared to the 171.9 million tons (of cementitious materials traded by sea in 2015.
CW Research’s latest research shows that seaborne cementitious trade has benefited from low shipping rates. Moreover, the increase in imports in some key markets where cement production has levelled out (such as the US), has also motivated higher seaborne cementitious trade volumes in 2016, compared to 2015.
Raluca Cercel, CW Research’s lead analyst for the report, stresses that, in the seaborne global trade context, “about two to three percent of total cement consumption is traded internationally, and two-thirds of the total trade are performed by sea-going vessels.”
In the worldwide seaborne cementitious trade, grey cement continues to be the most traded cementitious commodity by sea.
In 2016, more than half of the sea-based cementitious trade, comprising grey cement, white cement, slag, clinker, and fly ash, was made up of grey cement.
Clinker (including both white and grey) accounted for 33% of total seaborne cementitious trade in 2016, followed by ground blast furnace slag, with a 12% share of the trade.
Far less traded, white cement and fly ash made for 3% and for less than 2%, respectively, of total seaborne trade of cementitious materials.
According to CW Research, on the main trade routes and regions, the Asia Pacific region absorbs 51% of the total seaborne trade of cementitious materials.
Due to proximity and pricing considerations, the largest volumes of cementitious materials were traded within this region, with almost 90 million tons (81.65 million tonnes) shipped in 2016.
Global companies LafargeHolcim, HC Trading and Cemex together control about 30% of the cement trading market. The two largest Asian cement traders (Taiheyo and Tong Yang Cement) together control around 10% of the market.
Worldwide there are more than 900 cement terminals; more than 100 waterside grinding plants (slag and clinker), and almost 140 waterside integrated cement plants.
Most of the cement terminals are in Far East Asia, followed by the Med Basin and the Black Sea.
In terms of waterside integrated plants (used as export facilities), the Far East has a total of 51 plants, while 46 integrated waterside plants are in the Med Basin and Black Sea region.
The presence of these facilities in the Asia Pacific region favours the trade of cementitious materials, therefore explaining the large volumes that were shipped in the area.
CW Research says that utilisation of cement carriers has currently reached almost 100%, and is a market it forecast to grow in the coming years (mostly concentrated in Far East Asia, India, Northern and Baltic Sea).
In terms of specialised cement carrier market, there are currently more than 300 cement carriers used for seaborne distribution of cementitious materials. An additional 200 cement carriers under the 1,000dwt allow for environmental friendly, speedy and weather independent cement distribution.
Driven in particular by production shortages and supply chain optimisation efforts, CW forecasts that the total traded volume of cementitious materials will exceed 200 million tons (181.5 million tonnes), increasing at a CAGR of more than 3% between 2016 and 2021.
“Cement trading ensures that surplus and shortages of cementitious materials are ironed out across markets. More than that, maintaining utilisation rates weighs heavily in the future of traded cement volumes,” says Raluca Cercel.
“These are only two of the factors that balance the scale in favour of an increased sea-trade volumes in the next five years. Hindering factors, such as potential fuel related restrictions on the shipping industry, as well as new capacity additions in traditional import markets, will counterbalance positive drivers.”
CW Group is based in Greenwich, Connecticut, USA, and is a leading advisory, research and business intelligence boutique with a global presence and a multi-industry orientation.