Pulp fiction

Cargill is pouring more cold water on reports that it has placed a contract to construct a pair of capesize bulkers at a shipyard in China.

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Earlier in the day the sale-and-purchase market was rife with renewed speculation that the commodities giant had firmed up a deal with New Times Shipbuilding.

The rumour followed a story published by a trade journal that claimed Cargill was behind an order for a pair of 180,000-dwt bulkers due for delivery in 2016.

In addition to identity of the shipyard and details about vessel specifications the article argued that the duo would be classed by the American Bureau of Shipping.

When TradeWinds contacted Cargill about the report a corporate spokesman, Mark Klein, said his company was not involved in a transaction with New Times.

Some believe the US conglomerate and its affiliates have been incorrectly linked to at least a dozen orders and sale-and-purchase deals since 2013, which has made it increasingly difficult to pin down the size of its bulker fleet.

Rumours that the commodities trader inked an order for capesize bulkers at New Times first began to surface back in June. At the time the company dismissed the claim as untrue despite numerous reports to the contrary.

Had the trader inked a cape at New Times late last year, which is another rumour its spokesmen have since denied, it is believed that the units would have cost $50m a piece. Today, a prime slot might command as much as $57m, brokers claim.