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Yangzijiang ready to build 400,000 dwt VLOCs

Yangzijiang ready to build 400,000 dwt VLOCs
Yangzijiang Shipbuilding, China’s biggest privately-owned shipyard, has expressed interest to bid for the tenders to construct very large ore carriers (VLOCs), its executive chairman Ren Yuanlin said.

The VLOCs, dubbed valemaxes, are currently the world’s largest type of bulk carriers at 400,000 dwt, designed to achieve tonne-mile advantage for transporting iron ore between Brazil to European and Asian ports.

The largest bulk carrier that Yangzijiang is currently building is four units of 260,000 dwt bulkers. The yard is also constructing 12 units of 208,000 dwt bulkers among its orderbook for 92 bulk carriers.

“We are interested in building the VLOCs and we will tender for it. But at the moment Vale has not started inviting fresh bids,” Ren said at a news briefing held in Singapore last week.

Brazil’s mining giant Vale will own or charter the VLOCs, and Vale has so far approached yards in China and South Korea to build the mega-sized vessels.

At the end of April, China’s state-owned Cosco Holdings approved of a plan to implement a cooperation framework with Brazil’s Vale, dated September 2014 over a number of VLOCs.

Back then in September last year, Vale and Cosco entered into a an agreement over a 25-year long term contract of affreightment (COA) where Cosco will build and operate 10 VLOCs, and purchase four existing VLOCs owned by Vale. In that same month, Vale also struck a deal with China Merchants Energy Shipping (CMES) to order another 10 VLOCs for a similar 25-year COA with the mining giant.

Between 2008 and 2009, Vale had placed orders for a total of 34 valemaxes at Chinese and Korean yards, with the first VLOC named Vale Brasil delivered in 2011.

Apart from eyeing a potential VLOC order, Yangzijiang continues to be in talks to build two 80,000 cu m LPG carriers, Ren confirmed. The Chinese yard made its first foray into the gas ship business when it inked an order to build a pair of 27,500 cu m LNG carriers for Evergas in February this year.

In merger and acquisition deals, Ren also confirmed his interest to invest in ailing compatriot China Huarong Energy, renamed from Rongsheng Heavy Industries. Ren, however, pointed out that there is no firm deal on the investment at the moment and a decision is expected by June this year.