Chinese bulker company Jiangsu Ocean Shipping (Josco) is renewing its bulker fleet with orders for four ultramax newbuildings.

The Nanjing-based shipping company has contracted compatriot shipyards Dalian Cosco KHI Ship Engineering (Dacks) and Nantong Cosco KHI Ship Engineering (Nacks) to construct two 61,000-dwt bulker newbuildings each.

A shipping source familiar with Josco said the ultramax newbuildings are part of the company’s fleet renewal programme.

“Josco is planning to sell away some of the 49,000-dwt and 55,000-dwt that were built between 2003 and 2005,” said the source.

The price tag for Josco’s bulker newbuildings has not been disclosed. But shipbuilding brokers said newbuilding prices have been strengthening, and the current price for a IMO Tier III ultramax is between $27m and $27.5m. Josco is scheduled to take delivery of the vessels during the last quarter of 2020.

In September, John Koo's new shipping company, Glory Maritime International Holdings, was reported to have ordered up to ten 63,500-dwt newbuildings at Wuhu Shipyard for around $24m apiece.

“Josoc is getting a special price from Nacks and Dacks, as the company is an old client there,” said the shipping market source.

“Since 2003, it has ordered more than 10 ships from the Sino-Japanese shipyard.”

Josco is a mixed private-public enterprise established in 1980 and formerly part of China Ocean Shipping Group (Cosco). It separated from the Beijing-based shipping giant in 1996.

The company controls a fleet of 12 bulk carriers, in addition to six containerships of less than 1,900 teu.

The feeder boxships are chartered out to domestic liner companies and they are plying between Japan, South Korea and China. The bulkers are trading worldwide.