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Only large-scale LNG shipping group in China describes annual tanker operations and future strategy

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Cosco Shipping Energy Transportation Co., China’s largest LNG shipping business and the world’s biggest operator of oil tankers, has outlined its future strategy and its fleet management efforts.

That’s as Cosco reported total annual revenues from operations of 13.72 billion Chinese yuan ($1.92Bln), a year-on-year increase of 13.4 percent.

Its gross profit (EBITDA) was reported as 5.29Bln yuan ($747.4M), representing an increase of 36.3 percent from the previous year.

Cosco’s latest earnings and strategy emerged in its annual report just released by the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

The group’s LNG subsidiaries include Cosco Shipping LNG Investment (Shanghai) Co., a wholly-owned by the group, and China LNG Shipping (CLNG), in which the group holds a 50 percent stake.

The two are the only large-scale LNG shipping companies in China and have a combined fleet of 38 carriers with aggregate capacity of 5,900,000 cubic metres.

Three other LNG vessels under construction with aggregate capacity of 522,000 cubic metres.

Cosco posted LNG shipping revenue of 1.32 billion Chinese yuan ($186.5M), an increase of 11.9 percent compared with 2018 as its fleet slowly grows.

The Shanghai-based company said that it planned to expand over time in the LNG sector, given the increasing global needs for cleaner fuel.

“The group has recognized the transportation of clean energy as the second development curve, and will seize market opportunities, give full play to competitive advantages and promote the development of potential LNG shipping projects,” it stated.

The company said it was working to improve its existing LNG fleet management system and the LNG vessels were becoming more competitive.

“Shanghai LNG, a subsidiary of the Group, passed the certification of Lloyd’s Shipping Register and obtained the first certificate for quality, health, safety and environment (QHSE) management system in China’s LNG shipping industry,” said Cosco.

“The accomplishment of the authoritative certification for the management system strengthened the Group’s position as a leader in China’s LNG shipping business,” it added.

Cosco said its overall transportation turnover for all vessels (excluding time charters) was 440.78 billion ton-nautical miles, a decrease of 19.2 percent year-on-year.

In terms of its oil fleet size, Cosco says it is the world’s largest tanker owner with a fleet of 151 crude tankers owned and controlled with a total capacity of 21.71 million dead weight tonnage (DWT).

The crude tanker fleet includes 142 self-owned vessels with a capacity of 19.25 million DWT, nine chartered-in tankers with a capacity of 2.46 million DWT and 17 new oil tankers on order with a capacity of 3.04 million DWT.

Cosco actively responded to the 2020 global sulfur limit overseen th by International Maritime Organization and will help promote the sustainable development of the industry.

Currently, all oil tankers of the group use low-sulfur fuel to meet the sulfur limit.

In addition, Cosco cooperated with Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Co. to develop the world’s first LNG dual-fuel Very Large Crude Carrier in compliance with phase III of the ship energy efficiency design index.

“With the international oil shipping market rebound in 2019, the group actively sought cargoes and reasonably raised voyage speeds, which caused a 11.7 percent year-on-year increase on unit bunker fuel consumption,” it explained.

“The company applied an efficiency optimization model in managing the voyage speeds and achieved the savings of 112.2 thousand tons of bunker fuels,” it noted.

During the reporting period, Cosco’s vessels in drydock increased by over 60 percent year-on-year.

This was due to the aging of vessels and the sulfur cap and spare parts replacement.

“Facing the rising demand for drydocking, the group actively communicated with shipyards to strictly control the non-operating period in arranging dry-docking schedules, which saved over 100 days and improved the fleet operating efficiency,” said Cosco.