Japan’s largest steel producer Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp (NSSMC) reportedly plans to replace its fleet of chartered-in capesize vessels with nine super-cape vessels of 230-250,000 dwt.
The very large ore carriers (VLOCs) will be chartered on periods of eight to 15 years from four Japanese shipowners, said US shipbroker Compass Maritime in a report today.
Three VLOCs will be chartered from Mitsui OSK Lines, and two each from NS United, K Line and NYK, the broker said.
The four shipowning groups plan to order the ships from Japan’s Namura Shipbuilding and Imabari Shipbuilding yards for delivery in 2018 and 2019.
“This will add another 2m tonnes of capacity to the already saturated cape and VLOC market, and follows on the heels of recent reports regarding COSCO’s new order for a large number of 400,000-dwt Valemax bulkers from Chinese yards,” Compass Maritime commented.
“The only saving grace for the cape market has been the record pace of cape bulker recycling. As of this date in 2014, 14 capesize vessels were recycled; so far in 2015 we are up to 72 ships, and that may be a light number as the ships sold to Chinese breakers under their subsidy system, which has now been extended and will expire in 2017, sometimes go unreported.”