Joint-venture company China Ore Shipping (COS) has ordered seven 400,000-dwt valemax ore carriers from China’s Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding, according to brokers.
No price was disclosed for the vessels but brokers guessed at over $90m each for the ships, which are scheduled for delivery in 2017 to 2018.
The seven vessels are the first of 10 valemaxes that will be ordered by China Ore Shipping and chartered back to Vale on 25-year contracts of affreightment.
The three vessels remaining will be ordered from a yard controlled by China Shipbuilding Industry Company, brokers said.
China Ore Shipping is a joint venture (JV) between China Cosco Bulk Company (51%) and China Shipping Development Company (49%).
Vale signed a framework agreement for “strategic cooperation” with the Cosco JV in September 2014. As part of the agreement, Cosco said it would build 10 very large ore carriers (VLOCs) “of a similar deadweight” to the existing valemaxes, with which to undertake contracts of affreightment of iron ore for Vale.
Vale also agreed to sell four of its 400,000-dwt valemaxes for $445m to Cosco, which would be chartered back to the Brazilian miner for 25 years. The vessels were delivered in June 2015.
In May this year, China Ore Shipping opened an office in Singapore from which to operate its VLOCs.
Separately, China Merchants Energy Shipping (CMES) purchased four 400,000-dwt valemaxes from Vale earlier this year. CMES agreed a COA with Vale in September that will see the ships carrying 6m dwt of iron ore from Brazil to China each year for 20 years, plus an optional five-year extension period.