Eastern Pacific Shipping is poised to contract the world’s first ammonia-powered bulk carrier newbuildings in China, according to shipbuilding sources.

The deal for six ammonia dual-fuelled 210,000-dwt newcastlemaxes, which is close to being finalised, is valued at about $480m in total.

The order involves an initial three ships to be built at state-owned Qingdao Beihai Shipbuilding Heavy Industry with options for a further three, according to sources familiar with the talks.