ETA-Ascon to Buy Ships Worth $2.72B

Monday, January 09, 2006
Reports indicate that the Dubai-based ETA-Ascon, a diversified group, plans to buy 76 new ships to expand the size of its fleet to 100 in five years, a report said. The total investment involved in this order will amount to $2.72 billion. The company is negotiating with a number of ship builders for signing major orders. These include orders for four tankers with Japan's Universal Shipbuilding Corporation, he said. The new orderbook will range vessels from Panamax to very large crude carriers (VLCCs) that will require investment in billions of dollars, the report said. Reportedly, the plan will make it the largest fleet owner in the Middle East. Currently United Arab Shipping Co (UASC), which is owned by the governments of the GCC countries and Iraq, operates the largest fleet in the region, the report said. The shipping division owns 16 vessels and eight on order. It charters over 200 vessels every year, carrying more than 15 million tons of cargo. Its ship-broking offices in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Bangkok meet the affreightment and transportation needs of clients worldwide. The company's clients companies involved in the cement industry, construction industry, power utilities, steel industry, fertilizer and chemical industry, flour mills in the Middle East, North/South America, Europe, Indian sub-continent and Australia. The division has entered into a joint venture with Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) for operating VLCC vessels. The Project Department is involved in development and implementation of innovative concepts for onshore and offshore bulk handling.

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