Lloyd's Register’s (LR) LNG Bunkering Infrastructural Survey 2014 has indicated that major ports around the world are either planning for, or are anticipating, the wide-scale development of LNG bunkering.

Twenty-two ports were assessed, among the findings: 59% of ports surveyed have specific plans for LNG bunkering infrastructure; lack of in-port infrastructure will not hamper LNG bunker delivery plans; 76% of the ports believe that LNG bunkering operations will commence at their port within 5 years; by 2020 key European ports will be able to support deep sea bunkering operations; by 2020/2025, ports expect that 13%/24% of bunkers supplied will be LNG; and 86% of the ports surveyed indicate that it is either likely (54%) or very likely (32%) that demand for LNG will be from deep sea ships within a 3-10 year time horizon.

Other findings: ports anticipate no significant change in bunker delivery methods, for example, if HFO bunkers are being supplied by barge today it is expected that LNG will be delivered by barge in future. There is clear awareness that port and land safety issues need to be harmonized. Economics (32%) and availability (20%) are the two biggest factors in the development of a gas market.

The findings also indicate that societal concerns about LNG as a future fuel are falling.

Latifat Ajala, Lloyd’s Register’s senior market analyst commented: "Global ports are gearing up for a gas fuelled future for shipping. Now we can clearly see that the development of bunkering capability is going to be a vital driver for take up of LNG by deep sea shipping. Traditional bunkering ports will need to be able to offer gas just as they offer the traditional choice of fuel oil or distillates today.

“Most LNG fuelled projects seen so far are very short haul, point to point trades where the operator can secure and control gas supply regardless of the global bunkering markets inability to supply LNG. But gas can only really take off if supply is more like orthodox bunkering arrangements. Real expansion requires infrastructure and delivery capability. It is clear that ports are planning to develop the infrastructure and capability."