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Trafigura orders up to 32 new tankers for $1.35bn

Giant commodities trader Trafigura Group has ordered up to 32 newbuild crude oil and product tankers including options with a potential value in excess of $1.35bn, for construction in South Korean and Chinese shipyards.

Trafigura said the newbuilding orders are being placed by a close Asian financial partner and the ships will be leased on delivery to Trafigura with options to purchase.

The shipbuilding deal is for a firm order of 22 crude oil and product tankers with options for a further 10 vessels consisting of MR tankers, LR2 and suezmaxes.

The tankers will be constructed at Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) and China’s privately-owned New Times Shipbuilding. The ships will be delivered from end-2018 through 2019, with the majority of units being delivered in the first quarter of 2019.

Rasmus Bach Nielsen, global head of wet freight for Trafigura, said: “This development comes at an opportune time, involving the purchase of vessels by a close Asian financial partner who was attracted by the guaranteed employment of the tankers by a strong counterparty.”

Trafigura plans to trade these new vessels within its wet freight trading division which acts as a profit centre in its own right and was responsible for around 3,000 fixtures in 2016, up from 1,970 fixtures in 2015.

The company said around 85% of all its controlled wet cargoes will have been placed on third party tonnage in 2017 and around 80% in 2014-16, showing that the new vessels can be accommodated into its current trading system to provide a cargo underpin for the freight trading book.

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