Ciner Shipping Industry & Trading is said to have ordered open-hatch handysize bulk carrier newbuildings worth nearly $120m at a private Chinese shipyard.

Shipbuilding sources said the Istanbul outfit has contracted Jiangmen Nanyang Ship Engineering to build four 40,000-dwt ships to be delivered between June and September 2024.

They said the order was signed in May, with the ships priced at slightly less than $30m apiece.

The deal does not include optional vessels. Market sources expect the Ciner Group to employ the ships in its soda ash trading operations.

Cargill charter

Officials at Jiangmen Nanyang and Ciner were not available for comment.

The vessels will comply with Phase 3 of the International Maritime Organization’s Energy Efficiency Design Index standards for greenhouse gas emissions and will meet Tier III NOx targets.

The industrial group has seven other bulkers on order: three 88,000-dwt kamsarmaxes under construction at Chinese state-owned Chengxi Shipyard; and four 64,000-dwt ultramaxes booked at New Dayang Shipbuilding. It ordered them last year.

All the vessels will run on conventional marine fuel and will be built to Tier III NOx standard.

Ciner was reported to have paid about $33m each for the large kamsarmaxes and is scheduled to take delivery of them in July, September and November 2024.

As for the ultramaxes at New Dayang, the price was not disclosed, but brokers believe it is paying about $30m per ship.

Ciner will take delivery of the quartet in the first half of 2024. The vessels are believed to be going to Cargill on an index-linked charter.

Clarksons’ Shipping Intelligence Network lists Ciner with 30 vessels on the water: four suezmax tankers, four container ships, four capesize bulkers, four kamsarmaxes, seven ultramaxes and seven handysizes of about 35,000 dwt.

Shipbuilding brokers described Jiangmen Nanyang as one of the good privately owned shipyards in China. They said it specialises in handysize bulkers and has worked closely with Shanghai Bestway Marine Engineering Design Co.

“Jiangmen Nanyang gives decent prices on its newbuildings,” a newbuilding broker said. “The operation of the shipyard mirrors Japanese shipbuilders, who focus on one ship type and excel in building the vessels.”

The broker added that Jiangmen Nanyang can minimise its production costs, as it is working on only one vessel design.

Clarksons shows Jiangmen Nanyang has 24 handysize bulkers on its orderbook. Japan’s Nisshin Shipping and Turkey’s Yasa Shipping are two of the companies that have signed contracts there.