Greece’s Navios Maritime Partners is making a major investment in large product tankers partially backed by oil major charters.

The New York-listed giant said on Wednesday it is paying $58.5m each for four 115,000-dwt LR2 newbuildings, in a deal first reported by TradeWinds at the end of April.

The final bill will reach $250.8m due to an extra $4.2m per ship for additional features and improvements.

“The vessels have been designed with the latest technology to optimise efficiency,” the Angeliki Frangou-led owner said.

“They are expected to be delivered into Navios Partners’ fleet during 2024 and first quarter of 2025,” the company added.

Navios’ statement does not mention a shipyard, but the news tallies with a TradeWinds report that linked the Greek group to a deal for four firm LR2s and two options at K Shipbuilding in South Korea.

The company has been contacted for comment.

The first two ships, due in 2024, have been chartered out to an unnamed third party for an average period of 60 months at a net rate of $25,576 per day.

LR2 rates have been improving this year, with spot rates now hovering around $50,000 per day.

The charterer is described as “investment-grade.” TradeWinds has linked the vessels to oil major Chevron.

Options attached

There is an option for this charterer to take the ships for a further five one-year periods at rates increasing by $1,234 per day each year.

In addition, the charterer can fix one or both of ships three and four in the series on the same terms.

These options must be exercised by mid-October this year.

This is the first LR2 order listed by UK shipbroker Clarksons since June 2021.

A total of 58 new ships of this size are on order through to the end of 2024.

Six of these are due to be delivered in 2024: two for Greece’s Metrostar Management and four for unknown interests.

All are being built by the Hyundai Heavy Industries group in South Korea and Vietnam.

The Navios ships are said to have been ordered after a requirement originally floated under the name “Project Core”.

One broker quoted a price of between $63m and $63.5m on the ships, on the basis that they are to be fitted with deepwell cargo pumps — something unusual for a tanker of this size.

Clarksons quotes the price for an aframax tanker newbuilding at $60.5m.