Chennai, May 5: West Asia Maritime (WAM) Limited, one of the top shipping companies in the country, has signed a contract with Japan-based Mitsubishi Corporation for chartering two Handymax (plus 55,000 dwt) bulk carriers. Talking to newspersons after signing the deal under Bareboat charter with purchase option, WAM Managing Director Abdul Qadir A Rahman Buhari said the company was buying two new vessels from Mitsubishi at a cost of 110 million US Dollars.
The vessels would be delivered during the third quarter of 2012 and first quarter of 2013 and WAM had the option to purchase them from the date of delivery at a pre-determined price every quarter, throughout the 12-and-a-half year charter period, he said.
Mr Buhari said WAM had paid 15 million US Dollars as initial payment and as per the agreement, the company need not make any payment for the next four years, till the vessels were delivered.
WAM was the only company in the country to enjoy the facility with Mitsubishi, which had offered to arrange 90 per cent of the finance, he added.
''To cater to our clients and due to new regulations coming into force in the chemical industry, WAM will also be taking delivery of four new stainless steel chemical tankers over the next 12 to 18 months. These vessels are chartered by the company for five years and above,'' he said.
Mr Buhari said that with the growth in Indian trade, the company's fleet would grow to about 50 vessels in a combination of owned, long time charter and bareboat charter vessels in the years to come.
He said ETM, a group company, had started a ship repairing yard in China with the intention of going in for ship building in collaboration with Mitsubishi.
ETM Marsol, another group company, proposed to start a ship building yard in India and was looking for a suitable place in the East coast. The company was holding discussions with the Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh Governments in this regard, he added.