Japan’s Lepta Shipping has returned to China’s Jiangsu Yangzi-Mitsui Shipbuilding Co (Yamic), a tie-up between Yangzijiang Shipbuilding and Japan’s Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding, for more newbuildings.

Lepta, a joint venture between Japanese shipowner Nissen Kaiun and trading house Mitsui & Co, has ordered two 50,000-dwt product carriers to be delivered in 2026.

One shipbuilding source familiar with the deal said Lepta inked the contract early this month. The company is said to be paying slightly less than $45m apiece for the ships.

It is the third contract that the firm has inked at Yamic this year. Its earlier two orders were for 10 kamsarmax bulk carriers and four midsize LPG ships of 40,000 cbm each.

Lepta’s latest order spree brings the firm’s total spend on new vessels at Yamic to $728m. The LPG ships were reported to cost $67m each and the 82,500-dwt bulkers were priced at $37m apiece.

Clarksons’ Shipping Intelligence Network shows the yard is also building six 66,000-dwt bulk carriers for the Japanese company. The ultramax ships were ordered last year.

Besides the newbuildings at Yamic, Lepta also has five 3,500-teu container ships under construction at Yangzijiang and four 40,000-dwt handysize bulk carriers booked at Japan’s Saiki Heavy Industries.

Lepta ordered the conventionally fuelled boxships on the back of long-term charters of up to 15 years with AP Moller-Maersk. The Chinese shipbuilder will be delivering the quintet from early next year.

Lepta currently has a fleet of 25 trading vessels that includes one LNG carrier – the 170,000-dwt Methane Julia Louise (built 2010). But S&P Global’s Maritime portal shows the Samsung Heavy Industries-built gas carrier is owned by Nissen Kaiun.

Newcomer to tankers

Early this month, Yangzijiang secured four MR tanker newbuildings from Global One Energy — a Swiss-based trading company.

The Geneva-based outfit, also known as Gloen, was reported to have paid around $45m each for the 50,000-dwt product carriers. It is scheduled to take delivery of the quartet between 2026 and 2027.

Singapore-listed Yangzijiang is China’s largest privately owned shipyard. The company is reputed as a container ship and bulk carrier shipbuilder.

It is a relative newcomer to the tanker segment but it has already built an orderbook of 37 tanker newbuildings comprising 24 MR tankers, eight LR1s and five LR2s.