DSME takes stake in new tanker venture.
A SOUTH Korean shipbuilder has taken an undisclosed stake in a new shipping company joint venture with Belgium shipping group Exmar and Nigerian National Petroleum Corp.
This is the first venture into tankers for Exmar, which has a minority shareholding in newly created Cyprus-registered Nidas Shipping, while Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering has declined to outline its financial interest.
Nidas Shipping has chartered two suezmaxes and three medium range product tankers on the spot market, which its managers have declined to name, and which will be used by NNPC to ship oil to US and European refineries.
The joint venture will also ship products from the Atlantic trading region, including gasoline and gasoil, back to Nigeria, this month.
Nidas Shipping Services managing director Henry Kim, on an assignment from DSME, said this was the first time the yard had become involved in ship chartering.
He said the South Korean company was in the joint venture ?for the potential demand for newbuildings? adding ?it is all about the marketing opportunity?, but would not expand further.
Within six months Nidas wants to charter ships for longer-term periods, according to general manager for commercial operations Frederic Bouthillier.
?We are building up a team in London. Now we have our first contract so we fixed the two suezmaxes and three MR tankers for single voyages,? said Mr Bouthillier, who is also a director of chartering at Exmar.
?We are going through the first stages and are looking forward to further developments. The intention is to become the shipping arm of NNPC, taking vessels on time charter and to eventually order a newbuilding,? he told Lloyd"s List.
Nidas awaited further contracts of affreightment from NNPC before fixing more tonnage and could be in a position to order new tankers from DSME within 18 months or two years.
?First we need to perform and prove to the outside world that we are a serious company, then in three to six months, depending on the opportunities out there, time chartering of ships will be on the agenda. Right now we have specific needs for suezmax and MRs,? he said.
Exmar brought technical experience to the joint venture to ?make sure it all goes smoothly on the shipping side?, Mr Bouthillier said.
Exmar operates a fleet of 22 liquefied petroleum gas carriers and seven liquefied natural gas carriers, but no tankers.