MELBOURNE–Australian billionaire Clive Palmer has formed a shipping business to handle ore freight for his Queensland Nickel Group, with plans to commission four 64,000-metric-ton vessels from the Chinese shipyard already tasked with building a 21st-century version of the passenger liner Titanic.
Palmer said in a statement Friday that the new business, Asia Pacific Shipping Enterprises, will operate the fleet of ships out of Singapore. The vessels are to be built by state-owned CSC Jinling Shipyard.
Queensland Nickel owns the Palmer Nickel & Cobalt Refinery near Townsville on the coast of Queensland state, and the Styx Coal development project in central Queensland. It also owns golf courses and resorts.
“This is an exciting time for the Queensland Nickel Group of companies, which has an expanding international footprint across Asia and the South Pacific region,” Palmer said. “The group has been expanding from minerals processing activities to embrace tourism and hospitality, resource exploration and development and shipping opportunities.”
Palmer said earlier this week that he had commissioned CSC Jinling to build Titanic II, a luxury cruise ship that will have the same dimensions as its ill-fated namesake, with 840 rooms and nine decks. His new shipping company, Blue Star Line Pty. Ltd., plans a fleet of luxury liners alongside the Titanic II, which is scheduled to make its maiden voyage in late 2016, he said.
-By Robb M. Stewart, Dow Jones Newswires
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