The completion of the Panama Canal’s third set of locks in 2016 unlocked a spike in propane exports from the U.S. Gulf Coast to Asian markets, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported on April 29.

Within seven months of the opening, monthly propane exports shot up 49% to set a record of more than 34 million barrels. That mark was eclipsed in December 2018.

Very Large Gas Carriers (VLGC) are the most economical way to transport by water, the EIA said. The vessels typically can carry from 75,000 to 85,000 cubic meters of cargo. There are 266 in service, with 22 expected to be delivered this year and another 14 in 2020, which about doubles the global fleet from 2015.

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