Cosco Shipping Specialized Carriers and Guangzhou Salvage of China have formed a new heavylift joint venture.

The partnership will result in a fleet of 18 vessels by the end of the year comprising the world’s largest semi-submersible heavylift fleet.

Commercial management will be handled through offices in Guangzhou, Houston and Rotterdam.

Cosco’s specialised fleet will consist of 13 vessels with the delivery of its latest 65,000-dwt newbuilding later this year.

Five vessels will come from Guangzhou Salvage and include the 80,000-dwt heavy loader Hua Rui Long (built 2022).

The combined fleet will range from 20,000 dwt to 98,000 dwt.

The new partnership means Guangzhou Salvage’s semi-submersible fleet will no longer be commercially managed by United Heavy Transport (UHT) in Hamburg.

That partnership has existed since 2018 and had proved to be a successful five-year endeavour, UHT said.

The German company plans to explore new avenues of collaboration, particularly by leveraging the diverse marine assets within Guangzhou Salvage’s portfolio.

“Between the rapid growth of the offshore renewable energy market and continued development of traditional oil and gas projects, it was important that we grow the fleet quickly in order to meet our clients’ needs,” said Josh Wilson, vice president for Cosco Shipping Heavy Transport.

“We are confident that this combined fleet will allow us to offer the right vessel for every project.”