U-Ming Marine Transport has signed a landmark 25-year contract of affreightment (COA) with Brazilian miner Vale. The COA is the biggest and longest commitment in U-Ming’s 50-year history and the total contract value is anticipated to be more than $600m with a bunker adjustment clause.
The owner has also ordered two 325,000 deadweight tons very large ore carriers (VLOCs) from China’s Qingdao Beihai Shipbuilding to facilitate the contract which starts in 2020.
The VLOCs come LNG-ready, able for retrofitting to dual-fuel at a later date. They are also to be installed with scrubbers.
The newbuilds take the diverse U-Ming fleet to 50 ships, including those under construction. The Taiwanese owner has bulkers in most size segments plus VLCCs and LR1 tankers in its fleet.
Since Vale nixed its trial of owning its own VLOCs, it has sought out huge COAs with predominantly Asian owners over the past three years, which has seen many more VLOC newbuild contracts signed at yards in China and South Korea.