This report was also published on Seeking Alpha.

During the fourth quarter of last year, the LNG shipping sector, represented by the UP World LNG Shipping Index (UPI), strengthened and gained 4.20%. The S&P 500 (SPX) index gained 11.24% during the same period. The following picture compares both indices. In this report, we also provide data for the whole year of 2023 and include gains with paid dividends.

Weekly chart of the UP World LNG Shipping Index with S&P 500 (
Weekly chart of the UP World LNG Shipping Index with S&P 500 (

Last year, UPI’s value remained within the range of 140 and 158 points, and several attempts to break through this range failed. However, there were more promising attempts at growth than declines. In our last quarterly report, we wrote about the hidden power of LNG shippers. Finally, the power was unleashed, and after five attempts, a successful break-up occurred in late December. This break was very powerful, and UPI gained over 9% weekly. This break saved the year’s results, as UPI closed with a gain of 6.85% despite the necessary correction of the rise.

Negative Alpha

UPI’s performance during the quarter was lower than that of the SPX index, which resulted in a negative Alpha. SPX started to rise in October with a significant surge that changed the downtrend directly to an uptrend. The rise continued without any negative correction and only slowed down.

UPI began to rise at the beginning of November, but it initially looked just like a  sideway move. However, the significant rise of the UPI at the end of December changed the tone of the Alpha chart. Nonetheless, most of the time, SPX performed better than the UPI.

Chart of the performance of the UP World LNG Shipping Index to the S&P 500 index (
Chart of the performance of the UP World LNG Shipping Index to the S&P 500 index (

Declining volatility

Volatility of UPI to SPX declined, as UPI started to rise from the support line at around 140 points in November. Over the long term, UPI has lower volatility than SPX; Beta is lower than 1.

Chart of the volatility of the UP World LNG Shipping Index to the S&P 500 index (
Chart of the volatility of the UP World LNG Shipping Index to the S&P 500 index (


UPI comprises eighteen global LNG shipping companies from the USA, Europe, or Asia. All the constituents are named with tickers in the table below with their gains or losses. For some constituents, revenues from LNG shipping are only a part of their total revenues, so their weight in UPI is lowered. You can find the current weight of constituents on the UPI website.

The table is sorted from the top Q4 gainers down. This report focuses on the fourth quarter and the whole year. Dividends are also added, which can sometimes alter the order. The best and worst performing companies are highlighted in different colours to make the comparison easier.

Performance of LNG shippers in the fourth quarter and year 2023

Name (Ticker)

Performance Q4 2023

Q4 with dividend

Performance 2023

Performance 2023 with dividend

New Fortress Energy Inc. (NFE)





Korea Line Corporation (SM Korea Line) (KRX: 005880)





Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. (TSE: 9104)





Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd. (“K” line) (TSE: 9107)





Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (TSE: 9101)





Dynagas LNG Partners LP (DLNG)





UP World LNG Shipping Index





MISC Berhad (KLSE: 3816)





Capital Product Partners LP (CPLP)





Shell plc (SHEL)





Golar LNG Limited (GLNG)





Flex LNG Ltd. (FLNG) (OSE: FLNG)





Excelerate Energy, Inc. (NASDAQ: EE)










BP. p.l.c. (BP)





Nakilat (QSE: QGTS)





Chevron Corporation (CVX)





Cool Company Ltd. (OSE: CLCO) (CLCO)





Exmar NV (BSE: EXM)





This table highlights three significant points: the importance of dividends, new price trends, and the dominance of Japanese shippers. UPI’s total gain was satisfactory, mainly thanks to the rise at the end of the year. Dividends added 1.38% for the fourth quarter and nearly 2% for the entire year. While most constituents had a lower performance than UPI, six had a higher performance than the index. Most of the UPI gains were added during the last quarter.

During the last year, three companies began paying regular dividends: Awilco LNG (OSE: ALNG), Cool Company (NYSE/OSE: CLCO), and Golar LNG (NASDAQ: GLNG). Awilco’s first two dividend payments made a high return for the year.

The overall results are different when dividends are added to the total gain. A negative quarter and/or annual performance often turns positive. For example, Exmar’s (BSE: EXM) dividend was extremely high due to the company being overtaken by the Saverys family. The year gain with and without dividends differs by 83%! The price slightly decreased (-0.91%) during the year, and the extraordinary dividend made all the gains.

Comparing quarter and annual performance can highlight setting new trends. New Fortress Energy (NASDAQ: NFE), the top gainer of the fourth quarter, set a new trend, just like Korea Line Corporation (KRX: 005880). Both gained around 25% during the last quarter. On the other hand, during the fourth quarter, Cool Company slowed its post-IPO rise, and Excelerate Energy (NASDAQ: EE) slowed its downtrend decline.

The dominance of Japanese shippers continued on a year view, as their uptrend started in October. These companies announce dividends only once a year after the end of their financial year, which is set for the end of March. Their gains for the last quarter are the same with or without the dividend.


Winter and the first quarter are the best seasons for LNG shippers. Breaking the resistance sets the direction for UPI and its constituents.

Complications, such as Houthi attacks in the Red Sea or the drying of the Panama Canal, can slow down or make some cargoes more expensive. As shown in the IGU’s map from the World LNG Report 2023, Qatar’s gas for Europe is mainly shipped via the Suez Canal. The end of winter means a drop in demand for natural gas, so LNG shipping is not the most affected type of shipping. The drying of the Panama Canal is mainly caused by increased utilisation and growing vessels. A new dam is planned to solve this problem.

Map of LNG routes (Source: IGU+ Rystad Energy)
Map of LNG routes (Source: IGU+ Rystad Energy)

The completion of some LNG production capacity was postponed last year, so some excess of LNG vessels are expected as newbuilds come into service. Regulatory pressure by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) or European Union can counteract and speed up the scrapping of old steam vessels.

The following picture shows a two-year UPI chart with Bollinger bands. The resistance was unbreakable for nearly a year and a half. Now, this break is over and should serve as a strong support. Bollinger Bands have widened and reflected the growing power of UPI. The first correction confirmed the break, and the way to continue the uptrend is open until Q2.

Chart of the UP World LNG Shipping Index with Bollinger Bands (
Chart of the UP World LNG Shipping Index with Bollinger Bands (


In the fourth quarter, UPI’s whole perspective of 2023 finally changed. The significant break of the resistance level has opened the way for subsequent growth. Although UPI was in range, some constituents experienced a substantial rise in the fourth quarter and throughout the year. For investors, it’s essential to understand the power of dividends in the LNG shipping sector. This industry is based on long-term charters that generate cash flow.