German steel group Thyssen Krupp said on Friday it had agreed to sell its shipping unit Krupp Seeschiffahrt to Los Angeles-based General Ore International
"This sale represents a systematic continuation of ThyssenKrupp's portfolio optimization," the company said, adding that the deal would be closed by September 30.
A Thyssen Krupp spokesman
said the group would continue to focus on the core businesses of steel, automotives and technology.
He said that no freight contract was attached to the deal with General Ore and in future ships would be contracted in to handle the group's freight needs.
Krupp Seeschiffahrt operates
a fleet of 16 bulk carriers with annual shipping capacity of 30-35 million tons, which generates annual turnover of around $168.07 million.
Two of the ships are combination carriers, which are able to switch between the oil and bulk trades to take advantage of whichever is offering the better margin. They spent most of last year working in crude trades.
Nine of the ships are the giant Capesizes that are too large to use the Panama Canal and instead must pass around Cape Horn.
Shipping sources said the business is contract work for the big steel mills, carrying ore from Tubarao to Europe, as well as to Japan with back-haul cargoes of ore from Cape Lambert in Australia and Saldanah Bay in South Africa to Europe.