Cementitious trade is expected to intensify by 2026 on trade routes to the Americas, in particular to the United States, and within Asia Pacific, according to CW Research's 2021 update of the World Cement, Clinker & Slag Sea-Based Trade Report.

In 2020 the largest volume of cementitious materials globally was traded in the Asia Pacific, where the total cargo moved was estimated at 70 million tons, of which cement and clinker accounted for 90 percent.

“Compared to 2021, we expect volumes to grow at a CAGR of almost 4 percent to the US by 2026, while Asia Pacific region is expected to grow at a CAGR of more than 7 percent only eclipsed by the growth in North Africa of almost 9 percent. The Asia Pacific region is expected to continue to be dominant region in terms of volume, with North Africa overtaking the US by 2026,” assesses Prashant Singh, Associate Director at CW Group.


Asia Pacific reigns as the largest gray cement exporting and importing region

Almost 40 percent of the total sea traded volume of gray cement in 2020 was inter-Asia Pacific trade. Out of the total global trade, Asia Pacific trade accounted for a total of over 30 percent of gray cement sea imports and for more than 40 percent of the global volume traded by sea.

North and Central America stood as the second largest importing region of gray cement by sea in 2020, due to US demand, while the second largest exporter was Eastern Europe, with Turkey the most prominent exporting market.


Clinker trade by sea to see sustained growth over the next five years

Despite clinker production being highly impacted by environmental regulations, trade is expected to see a sustained growth over the forecast period, rising by almost 10 million tons over 2021 volumes.

In 2020, Asia Pacific accounted for over half of the global sea-based trade of clinker, being also the largest importer of the material, followed closely by Africa.


Cement carriers’ usage to grow on stricter environmental regulations

As sea-based trade of cementitious materials on bulkers is subject to environmental regulations, global trade is predicted to lead to increased use of specialized cement carriers.

Currently, with high utilization rates, there is little spare capacity in the cement carrier market. The situation is expected to improve in coming years as new capacity both in the form of new builds and ship conversions comes online.



CW Group's World Cement, Clinker & Slag Sea-based Trade Report provides an in-depth and data-oriented analysis of trade-related development, historical trade flows and prices, and changes in exports and imports during the past years from a regional perspective, with a focus on key markets. The report also projects key cement and clinker supply-demand gaps that will sustain world cement trading for the next few years. Key exporters, their facilities, and traders are profiled, as well as key ocean-going cement carrier operations and their vessels. Examined trade flows include gray cement, clinker, white cement, and slag, as well as a discussion of fly ash trade, in bag, big-bag, or bulk form. The report projects main flows through 2024 expected to be shipped by ocean going vessels and includes prevailing cement trade prices and bulk/dry cargo shipping rates.

Find out more about the report here.

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