The signing of a contract for the construction of four 37,000-t bulk carriers for the Polish Steamship Company (Polsteam – PŻM) for navigation on the American Great Lakes took place on 31 August this year. The ships will be built by the Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Company (DSIC) shipyard, part of the China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) group. Due to the still ongoing covid regime in China, the speech was signed remotely using internet video linking.
The contract just signed marks the doubling of the number of green bulk carriers ordered in China following a tranche of identical vessels ordered in January this year, as mentioned in the commemorative speech by the chief executive of the PŻM Andrzej Wróblewski, who “also expressed the hope that this agreement will benefit both parties and be a model of successful cooperation,” – reads the official communiqué of the PŻM.
Dalian Shipbuilding Company vice-president He Xu, in turn, thanked Polstem for choosing DSIC shipyard for the next contract and assured that the construction of the ships will proceed smoothly and delivery dates will be met.
Director Andrzej Wróblewski, in turn, addressed the employees of Polsteam attending the ceremony, in particular appreciating the contribution of the Technical and Financial Divisions, and thanked them for preparing the contract. He also stressed that the investment strategy adopted by the company for the coming years, assuming the construction of at least four bulk carriers a year, would allow the company to maintain jobs and its strategic shipping markets.
According to some sources following the Chinese shipbuilding industry, like the previous four new ships, Polsteam’s latest vessels are to be built by DSIC’s subsidiary Shanhaiguan Shipbuilding. Delivery of all vessels, from both tranches of orders, is expected to take place between 2024 and 2025.
The price of the new bulk carriers has not been disclosed. Shipbrokers, in an off-the-record estimate, say that Polsteam is paying around $34 million for each of the bulk carriers.
The bulk carriers contracted by PŻM at Dalian Shipbuilding will enter service at intervals of several months in 2025 and will replace the ‘Isa’ series of vessels, constructed in 1999-2000, which will be phased out at that time.
They will be environmentally friendly vessels with standards that comply with the latest International Maritime Organisation regulations (EEDI phase3 – CO², Tier III – NOx).
The vessels ordered by the Polish Maritime Administration are so-called ‘lake vessels’ (laker-max), i.e. vessels that are structurally adapted for navigation on the American Great Lakes. These are basins that are one of the strategic markets for PŻM.
The vessels will each be 199.99m in overall length and have a maximum width for ocean-going ‘lake vessels’ of 23.70m, determined by the width of the Great Lakes locks and channels.