Foremost returns to Beihai for another four capesizes

Latest order takes James Chao company’s tally at the Chinese yard to six big bulkers

The fleet of James Chao’s Foremost Maritime is expanding with the addition of four capesize bulkers.

The New York-based bulker company has booked the quartet at Qingdao Beihai Shipbuilding Heavy Industry, lifting the number of 180,000-dwt vessels it has under construction there to six. The company’s previous two newbuildings were booked early this year.

“We understand these four newbuildings are newly contracted,” said a shipbuilding source.

No price has been disclosed but Foremost was said to be paying around $55m each for the earlier pair, which are scheduled for delivery in September 2015 and October 2016.

Informed sources say Beihai, which comes under northern shipbuilding group China Shipbuilding Industry Co (CSIC), has squeezed out an early berth slot in late 2015 to accommodate one of the latest Foremost newbuildings. The remaining three are slated for delivery in 2016.

In addition to the Beihai capesizes, Foremost also has two 208,000-dwt newcastlemaxes on order at Nantong Cosco KHI Engineering Co (Nacks). They were inked last year at around $58m each, with delivery in 2016.

Foremost used to have its ships built at yards under the control of China State Shipbuilding Corp (CSSC) but market chatter suggests its relationship with the southern conglomerate “soured” over some resale vessels.

Privately owned Foremost was established by Shanghai-born Chao and is said to have close links with both the US and Chinese governments. According to online database Lloyd’s Register/Fairplay, it currently has 15 ships in the water — four panamaxes, three newcastlemaxes and eight capesizes.