zoom London-based Baltic Exchange has formed the Baltic LNG Panellists Group as it aims to develop a new Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Index comprising several routes for the evolving LNG shipping market.The move was made following an approach by leading Baltic Exchange LNG shipbroking companies. LNG shipbroking companies Affinity, Braemar ACM, Clarksons and SSY are the LNG Panellists Group’s first members.The Baltic LNG Panellists Group is currently evaluating various routes. Once finalised, their proposal will be presented to the Baltic Index Council for approval and trial phase.“The growth in LNG transported by sea has led to the formation of a spot market. However, any spot market needs to be underpinned by standard contractual terms – as already happens in the tanker and dry bulk freight markets,” Mark Jackson, Baltic Exchange Chief Executive, said.“The Baltic Exchange is looking to support the LNG freight market as it matures and we hope to deliver greater transparency through an index,” Jackson added.In recent years the substantial global increase in natural gas production and rising imports by India, China, Pakistan and Egypt has led to a fundamental change in LNG shipping market dynamics. In addition, more contracts are being signed for shorter durations and smaller quantities, without fixed destinations.Trade patterns have diversified as new import and export terminals have been built and the LNG fleet continues to expand. Until recently, the LNG shipping market was characterised by low levels of spot market activity, with the majority of business conducted on a long term contractual basis.