The Export and Import Bank of China (Exim) has agreed to provide nearly $240m to Ethiopian Shipping Lines (ESL) to procure nine new ships with an aggregate carrying capacity of 300,000t.

The ESL said it was planning to build seven container and bulk cargo vessels with a capacity of 28,000t each and two fuel-carrying vessels with a capacity of 41,500t each.

The shipping firm has also reached an agreement with a China-based shipbuilding firm to build these ships, which will cost the company nearly $300m.

ESL said it was yet to reach a definitive agreement due to a credit arrangement in which EXIM would finance up to 80% of the fleet expansion deal.

The new vessels will expand ESL’s carrying capacity from 150,000t to 300,000t.