Jan 17, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Mercantile Shipping Company Ltd. is acquiring two newly built cargo ships as part of efforts to renew its fleet, company officials said. The company has signed an agreement with the Dutch government for a ship building grant for the two multi-purpose vessels each of 7,800 tonnes deadweight.
The ships will have their own cranes for handling break bulk and container cargo.
They will cost around 12.5 million euros each and be partly funded through the Dutch grant, and partly through the company’s own capital and international loans.
Construction is already underway in the Netherlands, said Stephan Kuehl, General Manager of Mercantile Shipping Company.
“The ships will fly the Sri Lanka flag and will be crewed by Sri Lankans so they are going to be Sri Lankan ships. I believe this is the first time a private shipping company in Sri Lanka is getting new buildings.”
Sri Lanka’s handful of ship owners had till now bought second-hand cargo ships because of the high cost of building new vessels.
But sharply higher prices of even second-hand ships now make new vessels a more affordable proposition.