German Tanker orders newbuildings again after a long break

Caption: Photo: German Tanker

Bremen-based shipping company German Tanker has held back for many years. But now it is ordering up to six newbuildings in China.

It has been almost 15 years since the last newbuild, the “Seapike“, was launched, at that time at Lindenau in Kiel. In the following years of crisis, there was no more newbuilding activity – until now. [ds_preview]

German Tanker Shipping (GTS) has ordered four product tankers with ice class 1B in China, and the shipping company also holds two additional options that are due in the near future. “We want and need to modernize the fleet,” says Managing Director Ulrich Niebusch.

German Tanker ships are getting on in years

14 product tankers of the Handysize class with capacities ranging from 32,200 tdw to 45,700 tdw currently belong to the fleet of the shipping company, which celebrated its 25th anniversary at the beginning of this year. The main sailing area is Northwest Europe, but some units also sail worldwide under time charter contracts.

The “Sealing”, the oldest ship, is now 20 years old, while the “Seapike”, the youngest, is 15 years old. Throughout its history, the company has only had ships built in Germany. Having already sold four older ships in 2021 and 2022, German Tanker is therefore investing in fleet renewal.

The order for an initial four newbuildings on firm order is going to Xiamen Shipbuilding in China, with Mawei taking on the technical design. The design comes from FKAB Marine Design in Sweden. The construction contracts have been signed, the financing still has to be finalized. The ships will be delivered every 3-4 months from September 2025.

German Tanker relies on hybrid propulsion

The new product tankers will have a load capacity of 41,000 tons and a hybrid propulsion system that combines a MAN 4-stroke engine with a shaft generator and a battery pack. According to the information provided, there will be a powerful shore power connection on board, which can be used to operate six cargo pumps simultaneously.

According to Niebusch, the ships will also be delivered from the shipyard as methanol-ready. “This means we can convert to alternative fuels at a later date without any major effort.”

The Bremen-based shipping company considers the prospects in the tanker market and especially in the Handysize segment to be extremely good. Only 2% of the existing fleet is “on order”, and the global fleet will even shrink in the next two years. At the same time, there is a foreseeable shortage of tonnage. According to Niebusch, the loss of Russia, which supplied 60% of the diesel consumed in Europe before the outbreak of the Ukraine war, has lengthened transport routes and increased the demand for ships. (KF)

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