The newly relaunched Hengli Heavy Industry is wasting little time in expanding its product portfolio.

The shipyard, formerly known as STX Dalian Shipbuilding, has made its debut in the VLCC segment with an order for two newbuildings.

According to shipping players, Chinese private petrochemical company Hengli Group has commissioned Hengi Heavy to construct the pair of 306,000-dwt crude oil carriers.

The shipyard is expected to deliver the conventional marine-fuelled newbuildings in 2026.

Officials at Hengli Heavy were not available for comments.

Sources said Hengli Heavy has been trying to contract VLCC newbuildings for some time. But demand for the ship type has hitherto been in the doldrums due to strong newbuilding prices and uncertainty over alternative fuel.

If confirmed, the shipbuilder will be the third Chinese shipyard to make a debut in the large tanker segment.

In July, CSSC Tianjin Shipbuilding, the former Tianjin Xingang Shipbuilding Heavy Industry was contracted by Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Co (DSIC) to build two 307,000-dwt oil tankers for delivery between end of 2026 and the first quarter of 2027.

The 333-metre-long crude carriers were ordered by shipowner George Procopiou’s Dynacom Tankers Management.

The Greek shipping company was reported to be paying around $115m each for the VLCCs which will be built to meet the International Maritime Organization’s NOx Tier III emissions regulations and be fitted with scrubbers to comply with SOx requirements.

Last month, bulker builder Qingdao Beihai Shipbuilding Heavy Industry diversified into the VLCC segment when it was tasked by DSIC to build one 319,000-dwt tanker newbuilding plus an option for additional ship for Saverys family-controlled CMB Group’s shipowning arm Bocimar.

The conventional fuel oil tanker is scheduled to be delivered during the second half of 2026, and will be delivered to Euronav as Bocimar has novated the newbuilding to the tanker giant.

CSSC Tianjin and Qingdao Beihai are both subsidiaries of DSIC.

TradeWinds calculated that including the three VLCC shipbuilding newcomers, China has a total of nine shipyards that can build large crude carriers.

The other six are Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding, Guangzhou Shipyard International (GSI), Nantong Cosco KHI Ship Engineering (Nacks), Dalian COSCO KHI Ship Engineering Co (DACKS) shipyard, DSIC and New Times Shipbuilding.

Chinese shipyards capable of building large crude carriers
  • Hengli Heavy Industry
  • CSSC Tianjin
  • Qingdao Beihai Shipbuilding Heavy Industry
  • Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding
  • Guangzhou Shipyard International (GSI)
  • Nantong Cosco KHI Ship Engineering (Nacks)
  • Dalian Cosco KHI Ship Engineering Co (DACKS) shipyard
  • DSIC
  • New Times Shipbuilding.
Source: TradeWinds

Hengli Heavy joined the shipbuilding market late last year when its parent company Hengli Group signed up for four 20,000-dwt bulker newbuildings to transport coal from Qinhuangdao to Dalian. The quartet is slated to be next year.

The shipyard was formerly owned by South Korea’s STX Group. STX Dalian collapsed and exited shipbuilding in 2013. It was “resuscitated” last summer when Hengli Group paid CNY 1.73bn ($256m) to acquire all the assets, to make it into an offshore manufacturing base.

Hengli Group has pumped a further CNY 18bn to restructure the shipyard to enable a shipbuilding capacity of 6.3m dwt and deliver around 40 ships per annum when operation is at its optimum.

According to Clarksons’ Shipping Intelligence Network, Hengli Heavy has built up an order backlog of 34 newbuildings including the pair of VLCCs.

The company is constructing four capesize bulk carriers for Reederei Vogemann, kamsarmax bulkers for Sea Traders, Laskaridis Maritime, Fortune Ocean Shipping and ultramax bulkers for Hengli Group.