Trafigura eyes its own shipping fleet in US$1.35bn deal

News | 2 June 2017


Trafigura has supported an order for up to 32 new crude oil tankers in a deal that could end up being worth more than US$1.35bn.

The order has been placed by a sole “close Asian financial partner”, the identity of which has not been disclosed.  

The commodity trader has committed to a firm order of 22 tankers which it will lease upon construction, and has the option of purchasing the takers at a later stage – the company has the option of a further 10 more crude oil tankers too.

“Trafigura is a leading player in global shipping with a strong team and infrastructure already in place. This development comes at an opportune time, involving the purchase of vessels by a close Asian financial partner who was attracted by the guaranteed employment of the tankers by a strong counterparty,” said Rasmus Bach Nielsen, global head of wet freight for Trafigura.

Trafigura says around 85% of everything it has shipped so far in 2017 was done through third-part companies.

Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries Group and China’s New Times Shipbuilding have been contracted to build the tankers, which are made up Medium Range (MR) tankers, LR2s and Suezmax tankers.

“They are being constructed to a high technical specification and we look forward to employing them within our trading division,” said Nielsen.

The export credit agencies of either nation are not involved in the deal.

The first batch of tankers are expected to be delivered by the end of 2018, with the majority arriving in first quarter of 2019.

“The company plans to trade these new vessels within its wet freight trading division which acts as a profit centre in its own right, and was responsible for around 3,000 fixtures in 2016, up from 1,970 fixtures in 2015,” a statement from Trafigura said. 

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