Global commodity trading company Trafigura Group has disclosed its involvement in an order to purchase up to 32 new crude oil and product tankers, at a combined value of more than $1.35bn.

The order has been placed by one of the company’s financial partners in Asia and the newbuilds are to be leased to Trafigura, with options to purchase at a later date if required.

Trafigura has supported a firm order for 22 crude oil and product tankers with options for ten additional vessels, including Medium Range (MR) tankers, LR2s and Suezmax tankers.

The vessels will be built by South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) Group and by Chinese shipbuilding firm New Times Shipbuilding.

Deliveries of the vessels are planned to begin by the end of next year and through to 2019, with the majority of the tankers currently scheduled for the first quarter of 2019. 

"The vessels are being constructed to a high technical specification and we look forward to employing them within our trading division."

Trafigura Group Wet Freight global head Rasmus Nielsen said: “Trafigura is a leading player in global shipping with a strong team and infrastructure already in place.

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“This development comes at an opportune time, involving the purchase of vessels by a close Asian financial partner who was attracted by the guaranteed employment of the tankers by a strong counterparty. 

“They are being constructed to a high technical specification and we look forward to employing them within our trading division.”

Trafigura is further planning to trade the newly ordered vessels within its wet freight trading division.

It is expected that almost 85% of Trafigura-controlled wet cargoes will have been placed on third-party tonnage by the end of 2017.