Taiwan Navigation has placed an order for two handysize bulk carriers at Namura Shipbuilding in Japan.

In a statement to the Taiwan Stock Exchange the Taipei-based operator said it would be paying $32.3m for each of the 40,000-dwt bulk carriers.

The order has been placed through subsidiary company Tai Shing Maritime.

The vessels will be designed to carry logs. Taiwan Navigation said that the newbuildings are intended as “replacement of older vessel and for the expansion of the bulk fleet”.

The price would appear to reflect a hardening of newbuilding prices in the sector in response to higher material costs for shipyards.

Broker Clarksons indicates the average price of a standard 38,000-dwt handysize bulk carrier is around $30m.

Taiwan Navigation’s newbuilding will be built to Energy Efficiency Design Index Phase 3 standards which will be mandatory for newbuildings contracted after 2025.

The vessels will likely be built at Namura’s Hakodate shipyard which specialises in small bulk carriers.

Taiwan Navigation has a close connection with Japanese yards.

Earlier this year it placed an order for two 64,000-dwt ultramax newbuildings at Japan’s Oshima Shipyard.

In 2019 it ordered two ultramax newbuildings at Namura Shipbuilding.

Taiwan Navigation operates 19 bulk carriers between 55,000-dwt and 84,000-dwt on the dry bulk spot market.

It also operates in the roro passenger ship and product tanker trades.