From January 2014 the Group’s ethylene fleet was free from previous contractual obligation in the Middle East, and was now better positioned to take both European and USA cargoes in addition to the Middle East. This resulted in a small increase in 2014, and after a slow start in 2015, with low export volumes from all areas, it is expected that the long haul ethylene market is back from second quarter and throughout the year.
For the fully refrigerated ships (VLGC and LGC), the 2014 market was at a historical high. 2015 has started in the same trend, and is expected to be a very strong year, with additional increased in export volumes from USA as well as stable export levels from Middle East. For the largest ships, VLGC, the orderbook is more than 50% of the global existing fleet, and there is some uncertainty about the longer term supply and demand balance within this segment.
The Group had at year-end contract coverage of 94% for 2015 for the fully refrigerated ships (VLGC & LGC), with only one ship coming available in June 2015 and one of the newbuilds is currently without firm contract. The ethylene tonnage operates mainly in the spot market and on consecutive voyage contracts.