Chinese state-run shipping giant Cosco is ordering up to 30 newcastlemax bulk carriers at domestic yards to support its long-term shipping project with Aluminum Corporation of China (Chalco), marking the largest ever bulker order placed by the company.
Cosco secured a long-term shipping contract with Chalco last October for the transportation of bauxite from Guinea to China.
According to sources close to the matter, Cosco Shipping Bulk has chosen several domestic yards including subsidiary yards of Cosco Shipping Heavy Industry and CSIC-affiliate yards for the first batch of sixteen 210,000 dwt vessels. The total orderbook for the project could be expanded to 25-30 vessels.
The price for a newbuild 210,000 dwt bulker is currently around $54m.
When contacted by Splash, an official at Cosco confirmed that the company is in negotiations with a number of domestic yards to finalise a series of new orders, however the contracts have not been officially signed yet. The official declined to reveal more details on the orders.
VesselsValue data shows Cosco Shipping Bulk currently operates a fleet of nearly 268 vessels with total capacity of 31.7m dwt, and also has another 12 newbuildings on order at Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding and Tianjin Xingang Shipbuilding.
Aluminum Corp of China (Chalco) entered into an agreement with the government of Guinea in June last year to develop the Boffa bauxite project in the west of the country. The company has been granted mining licenses for 15 years, renewable by 15 years on expiry.
Chalco is expected to gain annual bauxite output of 12m tonnes from the project, which will go to its alumina refineries in Shandong and Guangxi.