Dacks ends order drought with Eastern ultramaxes

Idan Ofer-backed shipowner also books a chemical tanker in Japan, data shows

Dalian Cosco KHI Ship Engineering (Dacks) has ended an order drought with a bulker contract from Eastern Pacific Shipping of Singapore.

The Dalian-based yard has bagged an order for a pair of 61,000-dwt ultramax newbuildings from the Idan Ofer company, according to Clarksons’ Shipping Intelligence Network. The newbuildings were believed to be placed in August but the deal was never reported.

Officials at Dacks were not contactable as China was closed for holidays, while executives at Eastern Pacific were not available for comment when TradeWinds went to press. But Eastern Pacific’s website lists two ultramaxes on order at an unnamed shipyard.

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A price has not been disclosed but shipbuilding players think the vessels will comply with the International Maritime Organization (IMO)'s Tier III nitrogen oxide regulations. Dacks is scheduled to deliver the two ultramaxes in 2019.

According to Clarksons, Dacks’ orderbook has seven newbuildings, including the Eastern Pacific bulkers. The last contract it secured was in late 2015 from China Merchants Group for two VLCCs with delivery next year. Dacks is a joint venture between state-owned Cosco Shipping and Japan’s Kawasaki Heavy Industries.

Shipbuilding observers think Dacks’ order backlog may be under-reported as the company is secretive about its activities.

“Most of Dacks' marketing activities are carried out by the Japanese and it is in their nature to keep things under wraps,” said one shipbuilding broker.

According to VesselsValue, the last time Eastern Pacific signed up for bulker newbuildings was four years ago when it contracted Dacks to build the 61,500-dwt Devongate (built 2014).

In addition to the ultramaxes, Eastern Pacific has also signed up for one 21,000-dwt IMO II/III chemical tanker for delivery in 2020. The identity of the yard has not disclosed but shipping players believe the tanker will be built in Japan.

Last week, Eastern Pacific was reported to have signed up for four firm 14,000-teu containerships at Hyundai Heavy Industries for delivery from early 2020. The deal included two to four options. The price tag has not been disclosed but boxship pundits suggest it will cost slightly more than $100m apiece.

With its latest round of orders, the company has a total of 13 newbuildings under construction at yards in the Far East.

A diversified shipping company, Eastern Pacific has a fleet of 88 vessels including car carriers, bulkers, gas carriers, boxships and tankers ranging between 19,000 dwt and 300,000 dwt.

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