Greece’s Vafias Group has placed an order with STX Offshore & Shipbuilding for up to eight liquefied petroleum gas carriers.
The carriers, which will be the first pressurized LPG vessels built by STX, include two 5,000 cu m carriers and two of 6,500 cu m worth an aggregate $100m.
Vafias has options for up to four more vessels of the same design for the same price.
The orders come despite a weakening yen that has strengthened Japanese yards’ ability to compete. Moreover, Vafias has previously placed small LPG orders with Japanese builders. In May StealthGas, the Harry Vafias-led, US-listed owner of 34 smaller LPG carriers, will take delivery of the last of 10 newbuildings built at Kanrei Shipbuilding in Naruto.
Japanese yards have dominated construction of small, sophisticated LPG carriers, a segment that faces little competition from China or from South Korea, whose yards specialise in larger LPG tonnage.
Mr Vafias told Lloyd’s List that Japanese offers and contract-winning STX were “miles apart” on price and that STX was “more flexible” about bespoke designs.
Deliveries are scheduled for 2013-14, and the shipping group has six months to decide on options.
Published : March 27, 2012