Business Lines report that MISC Bhd has experienced its best performance over the past 20 years in the chemical shipping market. Freight rates for shipping chemicals reached historical highs in the second half of 2004, exceeding previous peaks of 1991 and 1995. The firmer freight rates are the result of demand outstripping supply for the more sophisticated chemical vessels and the lack of shipyard space to build stainless steel chemical vessels
. The demand for chemical vessels has also edged up as countries such as India and Pakistan restrict vessels which are more than 25 years from entering their ports. Taking advantage of this market situation the carrier has placed orders for additional four chemical tankers. The double-hull tankers will raise MISC's chemical tanker fleet to 17 ships from current fleet of 13 ships.
The four chemical tanker newbuildings of 38,000dwt (deadweight tonnes) each to be built at STX Shipbuilding Co Ltd of South Korea will be delivered in 2009. The delivery of the four carriers will raise the total fleet of MISC to 128 ships with combined tonnage of 11.23 million dwt by 2009. (Source: Business Lines)