Trafigura’s VLCC order rises to 5 at HT

Trafigura, one of the world’s largest metals and minerals traders, is making a big push into the very large crude carriers (VLCC) sector by expanding its newbuilding contracts with Chinese shipyards.

According to Trade Winds, Trafigura has returned to Jiangsu Hantong Ship Heavy Industry (HT) to place an additional order for three 319,000 dwt environmentally friendly VLCCs, bringing its VLCC order book at the shipyard to five. Trafigura has yet to confirm the latest order for the three new vessels, but according to a company official, “The company is confident about the future of the VLCC sector as the market needs to replace its aging fleet with new vessels.”

Although the two sides have not yet revealed the price of the order, some industry insiders believe that the price of each VLCC is over US$120 million, and the total value of the latest 3 new VLCCs is over US$360 million (about RMB 2.608 billion), which are expected to be delivered in 2027 one after another.

The order news for the first 2 VLCCs was announced in February this year, and they are expected to be delivered in the third quarter of 2026. If the cost for one VLCC is calculated at US$120 million, the total value of the 5 VLCCs will be US$600 million (about RMB 4.347 billion).

The new VLCCs will be equipped with desulfurization towers and designed with advanced technology to meet the latest International Maritime Organization (IMO) environmental and energy efficiency standards, and will be built in strict compliance with the International Ship Code, shipbuilding industry sources said.

Trafigura is one of the world’s leading independent transnational commodity trading and logistics companies, headquartered in Singapore, specializing in base metals and energy, including oil. As one of the world’s largest traders of metals and minerals, Trafigura sources, stores, blends and delivers basic raw materials and bulk commodities globally.In 2020, Trafigura traded a total of 268 million tons of petroleum and petroleum products, and is ranked 27th in the Fortune 500.

It is reported that the main products of HT are concentrated in two major types of bulk carriers and liquid cargo ships and offshore products. The bulk carriers cover all types from 38,000 DWT to 208,000 DWT, while the liquid cargo ships cover MR product tankers, LR1 product tankers, LR2 product tankers, Suezmax tankers and VLCCs.

In recent years, bulk carriers have become the main orders undertaken by HT. In addition, at the end of 2023, the shipyard formally entered the tanker construction market by undertaking two 157,000 dwt Suezmax tankers ordered by George Economou, the king of Greek ships. The VLCC order signed with Trafigura in February this year marks another major breakthrough for HT in the large tanker market, which will further demonstrate its expertise in the field of large liquid cargo ships construction.

Yangzijiang Shipbuilding

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