The trade volumes grew 1.3 percent compared to the 171.9 million tons of cementitious materials traded by sea in 2015

Low shipping rates and the increase in imports in some key markets where cement production has leveled out (such as the US) have motivated higher seaborne cementitious trade volumes in 2016, compared to 2015.

Raluca Cercel, CW Research’s Lead Analyst for the report, stresses that, in the seaborne global trade context, “about two to three percent of total cement consumption is traded internationally, and two-thirds of the total trade are performed by sea-going vessels”.

In the worldwide seaborne cementitious trade, gray cement continues to be the most traded cementitious commodity by sea. In 2016, more than half of the sea-based cementitious trade, comprising gray cement, white cement, slag, clinker, and fly ash, was made up of gray cement. Clinker (including both white and gray) accounted for 33 percent of total seaborne cementitious trade in 2016, followed by ground blast furnace slag, with a 12 percent share of the trade. Far less traded, white cement and fly ash made for 3 percent and for less than 2 percent, respectively, of total seaborne trade of cementitious materials.

Asia Pacific volumes enabled by its trading facilities

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 located in Far East Asia, followed by the Med Basin and the Black Sea. In terms of waterside integrated plants (used as export facilities), the Far East has a total of 51 plants, while 46 integrated waterside plants are located in the Med Basin and Black Sea region.

The presence of these facilities in the Asia Pacific region favors the trade of cementitious materials, therefore explaining the large volumes that were shipped in the area.

Seaborne cementitious trade projected to increase despite hindering factors

Driven in particular by production shortages and supply chain optimization efforts, CW forecasts that the total traded volume of cementitious materials will exceed 200 million tons, increasing at a CAGR of more than three percent between 2016 and 2021.

In conclusion, seaborne cementitious trade volumes increased globally between 2015 and 2016. That was largely due to consumption in the Asia Pacific region, which absorbed more than half of the total seaborne trade of cementitious materials. Even though fuel usage regulations in maritime shipping and local autonomy in cement production may condition the promising numbers, the outlook for seaborne cementitious trade volumes remains optimistic.

Find out more about the report here

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