Japan’s Mitsui & Co is said to have returned to a Hyundai yard for a pair of MR product tanker newbuildings.

Shipbuilding sources said the trading house ordered the 50,000-dwt vessels at Hyundai Vietnam Shipbuilding, formerly Hyundai Vinashin Shipbuilding.

The deal lifts the company’s MR order tally at the yard to six, with four vessels ordered last year.

Officials at HMD declined to comment when contacted, citing contract confidentiality.

Sources said Mitsui is paying $43.8m each for its latest ships. This is a hike of $1.3m or 3% on the price of its earlier four tankers, which were reported to cost $42.5m apiece.

Inflation and rising materials and labour costs were cited as reasons for the price increase.

Mitsui & Co will be taking delivery of its latest vessels by July 2026. The quartet ordered last year is slated for delivery in 2025.

Some newbuilding brokers think Mitsui & Co has placed the order on behalf of another Japanese company.

The trading house is said to have “close relationships” with privately owned shipping companies such as Nissen Kaiun, Doun Kisen, Meiji Shipping and others.

Hyundai Vietnam is a sister shipyard of Hyundai Mipo Dockyard. A former ship repair and conversion yard, Hyundai Vietnam Shipbuilding switched to shipbuilding amid the market boom of 2008. The company is known as an MR specialist but added aframaxes and LR2s to its building portfolio in 2021.

Last month, Greece’s Metrostar Management Corp was reported to have ordered one LR2 tanker at Hyundai Vietnam Shipbuilding for delivery in 2026.

The 115,000-dwt newbuilding was said to cost Metrostar owner Theodore Angelopoulos $67.5m.

Metrostar has three LR2s under construction at the yard — Hull Nos 525, 526 and 527 — that are due for delivery in 2024. The trio was ordered for between $63m and $64m each last year.

Clarksons’ Shipping Intelligence Network lists Hyundai Vietnam Shipbuilding with an orderbook of 38 newbuildings, made up of 13 aframax product carriers, four ultramax bulk carriers and MR tankers.