Marine lubricant marketers and their customers face several significant challenges in coming years, but the market is growing and still offers opportunities to new and existing suppliers, an industry insider said at a recent conference.
New, more stringent emissions limits are laid out clearly for the shipping companies in coming years. Less clear is which route the industry will follow to meet those mandates, and that makes it difficult to predict the impact on marine lubricants, industry sources say.
Two consultancies recently presented a wealth of evidence forecasting that continued growth in demand and revenue from marine lubricants is on the horizon and suggesting that suppliers may increasingly want to set sails toward the East.
Sri Lankas demand for marine lubricants plummeted last year, and some observers blame high import duties for driving up local costs and steering shipowners to ports in other countries.
Shell now produces nearly 100 products, including marine lubricants, from its almost one-year-old, 120,000 metric tons per year blending plant in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Booming globalization has the worldwide marine lubes market growing at a rate of more than 4 percent per year in the next four years, and Asia - the largest geographical market - will be responsible for much of that increase, according to Technavio Research.
MJL Bangladesh announced that it obtained a license from the government to offer marine lubricants duty-free to ocean-going vessels. The Dhaka-based company is just the second in Bangladesh to receive such a privilege and hopes to use it to attract more ship traffic.
Fully 53 percent of the worlds thirst for marine lubricants springs now from Asia, an official with Total Lubmarine told a recent industry conference. Its a vital region for any lubricant player in this 2.1 million metric ton market.
Malaysias Petronas Dagangan Bhd. recently signed an eight-year, 51 million ringgit (U.S. $14 million) lubricants supply contract with Malaysian port operator Pelabuhan Tanjung Pelepas Sdn.
Asian shipping companies account for just over half of global demand for marine lubricants, an industry insider said during a conference in Amsterdam recently.
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