Seaborne cementitious trade grows

More than 174 million tons of cementitious materials were traded by sea-going vessels in 2016, up 1.3% compared to the 171.9 million tons traded by sea in 2015, according to CW Research.

It latest research shows that low shipping rates have stimulated seaborne trade while 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.

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.

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 where there are 51 waterside integrated plants used as export sites. These sites favour trade of cementitious materials, explaining the large volumes shipped in the area.

CW Research says that utilization 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.

CW forecasts that the total traded volume of cementitious materials will exceed 200 million tons (181.5 million tonnes), increasing by 3% between 2016 and 2021.

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