Swiss commodity trader Trafigura Group has announced its involvement in an order of up to 32 crude oil and product tankers to be built in China and South Korea.
Tafigura said the order is being placed by a “close Asian financial partner” and the vessels will be leased to Trafigura with options to purchase.
Initially, 22 tankers are being ordered at South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries and China’s New Times Shipbuilding. An option for a further 10 vessels is also available, which if exercised would see the order value surpass $1.35bn.
The mix of MR tankers, LR2s and suezmax tankers will be delivered from the end of 2018 through 2019, with the majority being delivered in the first quarter of 2019.
Rasmus Bach Nielsen, global head of wet freight for Trafigura, said: “This development comes at an opportune time, involving the purchase of vessels by a close Asian financial partner who was attracted by the guaranteed employment of the tankers by a strong counterparty. They are being constructed to a high technical specification and we look forward to employing them within our trading division.”
Trafigura said that around 85% of its wet cargoes will have been placed on third party tonnage in 2017, which shows that the new vessels can be accommodated into the company’s current trading system to provide a cargo underpin for the freight trading book.