Home > Vessels > Future developments in the LNG fleet

Future developments in the LNG fleet

LNG-fuelled vessels

Several studies illustrate future LNG-fuelled ship fleet developments. However, the link with the confirmed fleet by 2018 is generally weak.


Because future demand for LNG-fuelled vessels is influenced by a multitude of factors, most studies present a range of scenarios. The DNV study “Shipping 2020” includes a scenario in which there is slower economic growth and less focus on environmental protection. In such a scenario, it is estimated that the LNG-fuelled fleet will grow to over 1,000 ships by 2020.


In contrast to the current situation, by 2020 over half the LNG-fuelled fleet will consist of vessels other than passenger and offshore ships. As a result of ECAs, the majority of these will be in operation in Europe and North America, with most operating in European waters, especially in the offshore industry.


Forecast of LNG-fuelled ships per ship segment for the year 2020 (DNV)


Forecast of LNG-fuelled ships per ship segment for the year 2020 (DNV)

Lloyd’s Register (2012) predicts between 13 and 1,963 ships, with a base-case estimate of 653 ships using LNG by 2025. Their projections vary widely, depending on the scenario adopted with respect to development of ECAs and price forecasts for bunker fuel oil and LNG.


Estimated number of LNG-fuelled ships according to three scenarios
Scenario Number of ships Share of global fuel deliveries from 2012 to 2025 (%)
Low 13 0.1%
Base 653 4.2%
High 1963 12.6%


Estimates of cumulative LNG-fuelled new-builds worldwide together with bunker consumption estimates for three scenarios (Lloyd’s Register, 2012)


Royal Haskoning has also estimated the growth of LNG-fuelled vessels through to 2025. This study estimates relatively limited uptake of LNG- LNG-fuelled vessels up to 2025: from 0.1% of the current fleet to approximately 1.7% by 2025. This translates to some 1,250 vessels by 2025.


Further reading

Order book

The LNG-fuelled fleet in operation in 2016 will be double the size of the current fleet. The order book shows a shift towards larger ship types like tankers, container ships, general cargo ships and RoRo ships. In Europe and North America, especially, significant growth is expected.