Danish dry bulk operator Ultrabulk said Wednesday that continuous delays have forced the company to cancel its order for two large Panamax bulkers from China’s Zhoushan Jinhaiwan Shipyard and instead order a new ECO-designed bulker from Japan.

In a statement, the company said that the charter contracts for the two Kamsarmax’s, i.e. large Panamax’s, have been cancelled after the yard failed to finish construction of the vessels within the agreed time frame. The contracts were originally entered into in 2010 for long term charter of both vessels for up to 12 years.

Ultrabulk also announced that it has entered into an agreement to secure a new ECO-designed Supramax bulker to be built in Japan. Upon delivery, the 61,000 DWT vessel will be placed on long term time charter for a period of up to 12 years to Ultrabulk. Delivery is set for 2015 and the deal includes the option to buy the vessel during the charter period.

The contract is the first ECO-designed Supramax newbuilding charter contract under the Ultrabulk umbrella, after the company concluded two contracts within the ECO-designed Handysize segment earlier this year.

“The market is still expected to create challenging conditions for the dry-bulk market within the foreseeable future, but with a solid cargo book already in place, it’s a natural move for us to conclude our first new ECO-designed Supramax bulker. By adding this latest ECO-design to our long term fleet, we show our continued support not only to our long term partners in Japan, but also to our long term global cargo partner, sending a strong signal that Ultrabulk is firmly committed to continued growth in the years to come,” says Henrik Sleimann Petersen, Head of Shipholding.

The new ECO-designed Supramax bulk carrier will be equipped with electronic main engines and systems expected to increase fuel efficiency by approximately 10 % and also reduce the CO2 emissions.

Ultrabulk says that the new contract entered into is a natural step in our on-going fleet renewal program and will ensure that the company continues to operate a modern fleet of vessels with the latest ECO-designs.

Ultrabulk operates a fleet of commercially controlled vessels, varying between 90 and 125 vessels, numbers depending on fluctuating and seasonal contractual commitments. Ultrabulk also has 23 newbuildings, 14 of which are expected to be delivered by the end of 2014.

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