Akmar Shipping has become the latest company to emerge with a sizeable ultramax newbuilding programme at Dalian Cosco KHI Ship Engineering (Dacks).

The Aksoy family-controlled company booked three such ships with the Chinese yard, a joint venture between Cosco Shipping and Kawasaki Heavy Industries.

The deal doubles the number of ultramaxes that the yard has already built for the Turkish company over the past three years.

The two players’ cooperation may widen even further in the future.

“We are very much interested to increase our portfolio in the newbuilding area and our first preference will be Dacks again, considering their satisfying performance,” Akmar Holding general manager Ozgur Aksoy told TradeWinds.

Aksoy declined to discuss the number of fresh ship orders it agreed with Dacks, their price and delivery schedule.

Data platform S&P Global, however, is already listing the newbuildings as Hull Nos DE161, 162 and 165 — all due for delivery in the first two months of 2026.

Akmar signed the agreement for the two first ships in July, according to Clarksons. The third newbuilding was added more recently, but it is not clear yet when exactly.

Rush for ultramaxes

Akmar becomes the third shipping company to emerge as a big ultramax client for Dacks.

In June, Norden announced placing an order there for six such vessels. According to Clarksons, these are all due for delivery between July 2025 and May 2026.

Norden hailed the sextet at the time as “the most fuel-efficient ship designs in the market, which can use both traditional marine oil and biofuel”.

Construction at Dacks is already underway for another ultramax trio on behalf of Almi Marine. The Greek company is due to take delivery over the course of next year.

Such deals have fuelled the orderbook for midsize bulkers, but not by a considerable extent.

Clarksons data shows the orderbook-to-active fleet ratio of vessels between 40,000 dwt and 60,000 dwt at about 9% — slightly above an average 8% for the entire dry bulk sector.

Dry bulk ordering has been driven by owners who decided they can no longer afford to wait for advanced zero-fuel technologies to renew their fleets and go for optimal available low-carbon options instead.

Fleet renewal considerations have been at the forefront of Akmar’s decision to place the newbuildings.

“Generally, Akmar is in the process of renewing its fleet, and newbuildings are part of that process,” Aksoy said.

The other part is ship sales. Earlier this year, Akmar sold the 53,400-dwt supramax Simge Aksoy (built 2006), reportedly for $11m. It is now trading as MSL Onyx under the technical management of Ukraine-based Martech Service.

This leaves the 52,400-dwt Oktem Aksoy (built 2003) as a potential sales candidate, should Akmar pursue more divestments.

Apart from the three ultramax newbuildings that Dacks delivered to Akmar between 2020 and 2022, the company also has a supramax and a kamsarmax on the water built in 2011 and 2012 respectively.