Ray Car Carriers is being linked to a KRW 356.3bn ($268m) order for two pure car/truck carrier newbuildings at HD Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering (HD KSOE).

The South Korean shipbuilding group announced on Wednesday a newbuilding contract for two car carriers from a shipper in the Middle East, without naming the company behind the deal.

HD KSOE said Ulsan-based Hyundai Mipo Dockyard will undertake the construction and the duo is scheduled to be delivered by May 2028.

The shipyard group did not disclose the ships’ size or fuel type.

Shipbuilding sources said Ray’s newbuildings will be able to carry 7,500 automobiles and trucks. They are high-spec vessels and will be powered by LNG based on a newbuilding price of $134m per ship.

The order lifts the total number of car carriers that Ray has on order at HMD to six.

The earlier four ships, which are of 7,700 ceu, were ordered in July last year. HMD will be delivering two vessels during the second half of 2026 and two in the first half of 2027.

Ray’s latest two-ship deal at HMD highlights a notable increase in the price of PCTC newbuildings, with the latest vessels costing approximately 3% more than its earlier four ships at the same yard, which were priced at $130m each.

Ray also has four 7,500-ceu newbuildings being built at Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries.

The LNG dual-fuelled PCTCs were ordered in September 2022 for $119.5m each.

Mokpo-based Hyundai Samho is due to deliver the first vessel in November this year and the remaining three in 2025.

One car carrier expert said Ray may have ordered the expensive HMD newbuildings on speculations as the company has so far lined up charter contracts for the four ships at Hyundai Samho.

“Ray has a fleet of 61 car carriers and a number of them will need to be replaced,” said the car carrier source. “These newbuildings will be needed.”

The company’s latest contract at HMD marks the third for the yard this year. Its other two deals involve 15 product carriers from Indonesia’s Pertamina International Shipping. The same company also ordered two 23,000-cbm LPG carriers.

HD KSOE is the holding company of HD Hyundai Heavy Industries, Hyundai Samho and HMD.

It has secured 50 newbuildings so far this year, or 47% of its $13.5bn target.

Ray’s PCTC Galaxy Leader and its crew are still being held hostage by Houthi militants in the Yemeni port of Hodeidah since the ship was hijacked in November.