After months of talks, Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping Co (Asco) has obtained a $42m loan from an international, government-backed bank to expand and modernise its fleet.

The Baku-based company announced that on 1 February it signed an agreement with the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development (EBRD) to finance “two handysize-type dry cargo ships”.

Asco did not elaborate, apart from saying the vessels it is eyeing will “meet the latest environmental requirements of the International Maritime Organization”.