Jaldhi Overseas has turned to China for bulker newbuildings to fuel its expansion and fleet-renewal plans.

Shipbuilding sources said the Singapore-based shipping company has struck a deal with Jiangsu Yangzi-Mitsui Shipbuilding — a joint venture yard between Yangzijiang Shipbuilding and Japan’s Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding — for four ultramaxes.

Jaldhi president and CEO Suresh Kumar confirmed the order, saying the ships would form part of the company’s fleet-renewal and expansion plans.

He said this is the first time Jaldhi has ordered newbuildings in China, having previously only booked them at Japanese shipyards.

“We have chosen Yangzi-Mitsui because it is a joint venture yard and the design of the ultramax bulkers was provided by Mitsui E&S,” Kumar said. “These are the 66,000-dwt bulk carriers.

“Yangzijiang is a stock-listed company in Singapore and has a good reputation. We are familiar with the shipyard as we have taken a long-term chartered kamsarmax bulk carrier that was delivered in 2019.

“We have some understanding of the shipbuilding capacity of Yangzijiang.”

Jaldhi declined to disclose the price of the wide-body, shallow-draught 66,000-dwt newbuildings. The bulkers will be built to meet the International Maritime Organization’s Energy Efficiency Design Index Phase 3 standards.

Yangzi-Mitsui is scheduled to deliver the quartet in the second half of 2024.

Kumar said Jaldhi controls around 25 ships including five owned vessels. The company is predominantly a bulker player, with a focus on ships between 64,000 dwt and 86,000 dwt.

“We also do capesize bulkers but operate them on short periods,” he said.

Jaldhi was established in 2004 and is the shipping arm of Bothra Group in India. The parent company operates five terminals, including one for coal imports in Paradip. It is involved in freight forwarding and is a logistics service provider for containerised cargo.

Yangzi-Mitsui was incorporated in 2019 with a registered capital of $99.9m. The joint venture shipyard has been constructing bulk carriers but aims to build LNG ships.

Yangzijiang recently obtained a licence agreement with engineering group GTT, enabling it to build LNG carriers using the French membrane containment system designer’s technologies.

Brokers said the Chinese shipbuilder is in discussions with a few companies over LNG carrier newbuildings. Jeppe Jensen-led Celsius Tankers was said to be one of them.

Clarksons’ Shipping Intelligence Network lists Yangzi-Mitsui as having built up an orderbook of 53 bulker newbuildings and five LPG ships.

The gas carriers were ordered by Germany’s Hartmann Reederei and Norwegian shipowner Ocean Yield.

Jiangsu Yangzi-Mitsui Shipbuilding is a joint venture yard between Yangzijiang Shipbuilding and Mitsui E&S Shipbuilding. Photo: Yangzijiang Shipbuilding