SHANGHAI, July 20 (Reuters) - China’s Bohai Shipbuilding Heavy Industry will soon deliver its first mega bulk carrier to Berge Bulk, local media reported, a move that could put further pressure on the weak shipping sector grappling with overcapacity and depressed freight rates.
The imminent arrival of the 388,000-tonne mega ship, Berge Everest, comes on the heels of the delivery of two similar sized vessels to the world’s largest iron ore miner Vale .
The launch of each new mega vessel is expected to further weigh on the global freight market, which is down 25 percent since the start of the year as ship supplies outpace demand.
The state-owned Bohai will build another three 388,000-tonne bulk carriers for Berge Bulk for delivery by 2012.
Berge Bulk’s four mega vessels could ultimately end up in the hands of Vale, which seeks to operate as many as 35 very large ore carriers before the end of 2013 on expectations Chinese demand for the steel-making ingredient will continue to grow.
Vale has contracts to purchase 19 mega ships with the remaining vessels likely to be chartered from other companies, like Berge Bulk.
The Vale Brasil, built by Korean shipbuilder Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering in May, has already completed its maiden voyage delivering iron ore to Italy.
China Rongsheng Heavy Industries completed Vale’s second mega ship, Vale China, earlier this month.
China was the world’s largest shipbuilding country in 2010, surpassing South Korea and Japan in terms of output, new orders and orders on hand. (Reporting by Ruby Lian in Shanghai and Randy Fabi in Singapore; Editing by Himani Sarkar)