Japan’s Mitsui & Co has added another kamsarmax newbuilding to its growing bulker fleet.

Shipbuilding sources said the Japanese trading house has booked the 82,000-dwt ship at Yangzijiang Shipbuilding, bringing the total number of such vessels it has on order there to nine.

The contract is believed to have been signed last month.

Yangzijiang declined to comment on the order, citing contract confidentiality. Mitsui does not comment on market reports.

Mitsui’s latest newbuilding is said to be a sistership to the company’s earlier eight vessels. The IMO Tier II newbuildings are said to be costing around $27m each. Yangzijiang is scheduled to deliver all nine vessels next year.

Capesize trio

In addition to the 82,000-dwt bulkers, Yangzijiang is also constructing three capesizes for Mitsui. The trio was placed two years ago and was ordered through Great Wave Navigation — a joint venture with US commodities trading house Cargill.

The bulkers were reported to cost about $41.4m each and are slated for delivery between the second half of 2019 and early 2021.

Shipbuilding players believe Mitsui will continue to place more orders at Yangzijiang, as the two companies have entered into a joint venture with Japanese shipyard Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding (Mitsui E&S) to create an Asian shipbuilding powerhouse.

The new company will rent Yangzijiang’s Taicang Shipyard, which was traditionally used for building offshore structures, for 20 years from April to construct bulkers.

The joint venture is targeting ­annual sales of ¥80bn ($713m) at the facility within five years, with an ambition to eventually break into the tanker and LNG markets. Taicang Shipyard does not have a dry dock but the partners are planning to build one.

Placed orders

According to Clarksons’ Shipping Intelligence Network, besides the newbuildings on order at Yangzijiang, Mitsui also has one VLCC under construction at Mitsui E&S in Japan, four 1,900-teu feeder containerships at Tsuneishi Heavy Industries (Cebu) in the Philippines and five 50,000-dwt MR tankers at Samsung Heavy Industries in South Korea.