Kumiai Navigation of Singapore is adding a pair of bulker newbuildings to its growing fleet.
The Japanese-owned company is estimated to be paying a total of $82m for a newcastlemax and an ultramax bulker at two Sino-Japanese shipyards.
Kumiai Navigation has commissioned Nantong Cosco KHI Ship Engineering (Nacks) to construct a 208,000-dwt bulker for delivery in June 2020.
It has also contracted Nacks’ sister shipyard, Dalian Cosco KHI Ship Engineering, to build a 61,000-dwt newbuilding, also slated for mid-2020 delivery.
A Kumiai Navigation executive confirmed the contracts were signed a few months ago but the deals were never reported.
The company did not disclose the price for the IMO Tier II ships, but said the newcastlemax will be fitted with scrubbers.
One shipbuilding expert based in Shanghai estimated that Kumiai Navigation is paying about $55m for the newcastlemax and about $27m for the ultramax.
“We have ordered them on the back of long-term charter contracts of more than five years,” said the Kumiai Navigation executive, who did not want to disclose the identity of the charterers or details of the contracts.
Some shipping sources familiar with Kumiai Navigation said the company has fixed out the ultramax to a German grain trader, while the larger ship has been chartered to a Japanese company.
Kumiai Navigation, which is a sister company to Tokyo-based Kumiai Senpaku, was formed in Singapore 24 years ago to take advantage of the country’s low corporate tax and, at the same time, to widen its business activities beyond Japan.
The outfit has 10 bulkers on the water comprising five capesizes, one panamax and four supramaxes. The company also owns four VLGCs built between 2001 and 2017.
It also has a pair of 82,200-cbm newbuildings under construction at Japan’s Kawasaki Heavy Industries for delivery in March next year and early 2020. The duo will be built to IMO Tier II standards and be fitted with scrubbers.
Kumiai Navigation has already secured employment for the first VLGC newbuilding, which has been fixed out to Japan’s Gyxis Corp. However, the second remains charter-free.
Small gas carriers
Two 5,000-cbm pressurised LPG newbuildings are to be delivered from Sasaki Shipbuilding in Japan in July 2019 and February 2020. Kumiai Navigation ordered the pair of small gas carriers, which are part of the company’s fleet diversification plan, last year without charter contracts. The Kumiai Navigation executive said they will be chartered out to Norway’s Equinor, although he declined to provide further details.