Singapore’s Kumiai Navigation has returned to Kawasaki Heavy Industries to order a dual-fuel VLGC/ammonia gas carrier newbuilding against a charter from a Canadian energy infrastructure company.

The deal lifts its order tally for the ship type at the Japanese yard to four.

Kumiai managing director Tomomaru Kuroyanagi confirmed the contract, saying the 86,700-cbm ship has been ordered against a minimum seven-year time charter to AltaGas.

The vessel, Hull No 1770, is the second dual-fuel VLGC that Japanese-owned Kumiai has ordered against an AltaGas charter.

The first, ordered last year, is slated for delivery in April 2026 and is also fixed for seven years.

Kumiai declined to disclose the price of its latest order, but its earlier KHI newbuildings were reported to cost in the mid-$90m region.

Shipbuilding brokers suggested it will pay about $120m for its newest carrier, based on recent deals.

Last month, Abu Dhabi owner Adnoc Logistics & Services was reported to have commissioned China’s Jiangnan Shipyard to build four 93,000-cbm LPG dual-fuel very large ammonia carriers for about $120m each.

In April, Japan’s Iino Kaiun was reported to have contracted South Korea’s Hanwha Ocean to build a single dual-fuel VLGC for $127m against a charter from chemical player Borealis.

Kumiai said delivery of its latest VLGC is slated for the fourth quarter of 2026. AltaGas will be dedicating the ship to export LPG from western Canada to the Far East and Asia.

Kawasaki Heavy is scheduled to deliver Kumiai’s two other newbuildings in February and June 2025. Commodity giant Trafigura and Dubai’s BGN International were named as charterers for these two VLGCs.

Clarksons said: “LPG carrier contracting has been firm so far this year, with 37 units of 2.6m cbm contracted in the first quarter, the highest quarter since the second quarter of 2021 and up 37% year on year in capacity terms on an annualised basis.”

It said firm contracting has been supported by strong sector earnings over the past 12 to 18 months, as well as notable interest in very large ammonia carriers, with 45 ordered since 23 May.

Clarksons is optimistic that the healthy LPG market will continue, due to import growth, especially from China and India.