Algoma Central Corporation of Canada’s latest newbuild (Yard No.732), the 19,851gt Algoma Innovator, was delivered on 14th December. The 198m long and 23m beam self-unloading bulk carrier was built by the Uljanik Group of Rijeka, Croatia, and is designed for service on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River.
Concordia Maritime signed a contract in December to charter in another IMO2/3 class MR tanker. The contract, which runs from the end of January 2018, is for two years with multiple options to extend. In parallel, the MR tanker whose charter contract expired in November is also having its charter extended for a minimum further year. The newly chartered vessel is under construction and will be delivered from the shipyard in January 2018. This contract, as well as the extension, is a joint charter with Stena Bulk, and Concordia Maritime’s share amounts to 50%. Both vessels will be operated by the successful MR pool within Stena Bulk Product & Chemicals.
Cosco Shipping Energy Transportation announced in mid-December a $323.7 million order for seven tankers from Guangzhou Shipyard International (GSI). The project to build two pairs of Panamaxes and LR2/Aframaxes and a set of three Aframax crude tankers will be managed by China Shipbuilding Trading Company (International), with delivery scheduled for late 2019 onwards. Expected delivery dates for the two 64,900dwt Panamax crude tankers are on or before 29th February 2020 and 31st May 2020, respectively. The two 109,900dwt LR2/Aframax clean products/crude oil carriers of 109,900dwt have expected delivery dates of on or before 31st October 2020 and 31st January 2021, respectively. Meanwhile China Shipping Energy’s three 114,000dwt Aframax crude oil carriers are set to be delivered over 2019 and 2020, with the first due by late November and the remaining two by April and August 2020 respectively.
Essberger Tankers of Hamburg has agreed to buy fellow chemical tanker operator Crystal Nordic, based in Copenhagen. Essberger already has a fleet of 23 chemical carriers, to which will be added Crystal Nordic’s fleet of 14 ice-class 1A/1B vessels of between 4,000dwt and 12,000dwt. Crystal Nordic was set up in 2015 as a joint venture between Nordic Tankers and Borealis Maritime to operate the two companies’ ice-class tankers, mainly in the Baltic Sea and northwest Europe region.
Euronav announced the takeover of Gener8 Maritime on 21st December via an all stock merger creating a new giant in the large tanker sector. Gener8 will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Euronav. The merged company will own 75 large tankers including 44 VLCCs and 28 Suezmax tankers with a total tonnage of 18m deadweight. Six VLCCs are also being sold to an undisclosed third party for $434m. The merger is subject to the approval of the shareholders of the majority of Gener8’s outstanding shares. Shareholders representing 48% of Gener8’s shares have committed to vote in favour of the deal. Earlier in 2017 Gener8 had been linked to a takeover by Frontline but the deal failed to materialise.
Flex LNG Ltd. has announced its entry into a time-charter contract for the 113,049gt LNG carrier newbuilding Flex Endeavour to Uniper Global Commodities, a leading international energy company with operations in more than 40 countries, and headquarters in Germany. The new ship is a state-of-the-art 173,400m3 cargo capacity LNG carrier equipped with the new high efficiency MEGI propulsion system and is under construction at DSME, South Korea. The time charter period is for 15 to 18 months commencing immediately upon the delivery from the shipyard in January 2018.
Fortescue Metals Group has named the fifth 134,693gt FMG ore carrier FMG Matilda at a ceremony in Guangzhou, China. The ceremony marked the construction of the first of four remaining ore carriers in FMG’s eight-vessel fleet at the Guangzhou Shipyard. The 250,000 dwt FMG Matilda undertook her maiden journey to Herb Elliott Port in Port Hedland, Western Australia.
Geest Line announced on 5th January that it is switching a weekly call to Dover instead of Portsmouth. The change is the result of Geest Line’s fleet expansion, with five new ships arriving to replace chartered tonnage, necessitating revised scheduling times. The company needs a Friday arrival for cargo in the south, which Portsmouth cannot provide. Two other ships already call on a Friday and handling company MMD would need to recruit a further 50 personnel who would then be ideal for the remainder of each week. This of course is not financially viable. Geest Line switched to Portsmouth from Southampton 16 years ago and this is the first time a schedule change has been necessary. A return to Southampton was also explored but the port no longer has sufficient cargo-handling space for Geest’s needs. The Portsmouth City Council-owned cargo handling firm MMD, which operates the freight terminal, currently handles 70% of the bananas that come into the UK.
Hyundai Glovis of South Korea has won two contracts for shipping finished vehicles built by compatriot car manufacturer Hyundai Motor Co. and its subsidiary Kia Motors Corp. The total value of the two separate contracts is around $1.3 billion. Hyundai Glovis will ship cars to the Americas, Europe, Middle East and Asia and the contract will cover 60% of Hyundai Motors’ and Kia Motors’ exports between January 2018 and December 2019.
Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) has signed a five-year bauxite shipping contract with Alufer Mining. MOL will ship bauxite from the Bel Air bauxite mine in Guinea as from the third quarter of 2018 with volumes expected to reach 5.5m tonnes annually. Alufer Mining is building an export facility which will enable the loading of capesize vessels anchored 32 km from the coast. In December MOL, Tokhu Electric Power and Namura Shipbuilding won approval in principle from classification society Lloyd’s Register for a next-generation LNG powered coal carrier. This is Japan’s first joint acquisition by three companies (a shipping company, cargo owner, and shipbuilder) of an approval for a vessel powered by LNG. The vessel’s design places the LNG fuel tank at the ship’s stern, aft of the superstructure, ensuring sufficient cargo capacity without making the hull larger. The design also includes a tank cover aimed at preventing an on board fire from spreading to the LNG fuel tank.
Oldendorff Carriers of Germany has grown its Babycape fleet with four 119,000dwt ships purchased from compatriot shipowner Hartmann Reederei. These vessels are the 65,976gt/2011 built UBC Ottawa (to be renamed Roland Oldendorff), UBC Odessa (to be renamed Rex Oldendorff), UBC Olimbus (to be rechristened Redmer Oldendorff) and UBC Oristano, which will take the name Rik Oldendorff. The latest fleet additions bring the company’s Babycape ship tally to 36 ships.
Sovcomflot’s 128,806gt/2016 built Christophe de Margerie completed her first loading at Sabetta and began her first commercial voyage for Yamal LNG on 8th December 2017. The event was attended by the Russian President Vladimir Putin among others. The Christophe de Margerie is the first in a series of 15 icebreaking LNG carriers ordered for the Yamal LNG project, to transport LNG year-round in the challenging ice conditions of the Kara Sea and Gulf of Ob. She has been assigned an ice-class Arc7, the highest ice class amongst existing merchant vessels. The ship’s propulsion system boasts 45 MW, a capacity comparable to that of a modern nuclear icebreaker. The ship employs three Azipod units which provide a high ice-breaking capability and manoeuvrability.
Teekay Offshore ordered two additional LNG fuelled DP2 Shuttle Tankers in late November with Samsung Heavy Industries Co. Ltd. These newbuildings will be constructed based on the new Shuttle Spirit design which incorporates proven technologies to increase fuel efficiency and reduce emissions, including LNG propulsion technology. Upon delivery in 2020, these vessels will join Teekay Offshore’s Contract of Affreightment (CoA) fleet in the North Sea.
Tomini Shipping welcomed the New Year with the delivery and naming on 3rd January of three Ultramax dry bulk carriers, namely the 36,415gt Tomini Prosperity (63,503dwt), Tomini Liberty (63,511dwt and Tomini Dynasty (63,657dwt). The naming ceremony was held at the COSCO Shipping Ltd. shipyard in Jiangdu City, China.