TBS International Limited announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire the M.V. CEC Cardigan, to be renamed M.V. Zia Belle, a 1997 built, 8,874 dwt heavy-lift multipurpose tweendecker with two 150 ton cranes, combinable up to 300 tons. TBS has agreed to acquire this vessel charter free for $20.6 million with expected delivery during the fourth quarter of 2008.
The Zia Belle will be TBS’s first tweendecker with heavy-lift gear, a cargo capability in demand for project shipping worldwide.
Following this purchase, TBS’ fleet will be comprised of 47 vessels with an aggregate of 1.4 million dwt, consisting of 24 multipurpose tweendeckers and 23 handysize/handymax bulk carriers. In addition, TBS has on order with Chinese shipyards six Roymar Class 34,000 dwt multipurpose vessels with retractable tweendecks, of which two are scheduled for delivery in 2009 and four in 2010.
Joseph E. Royce, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President, stated: “We are excited to announce the acquisition of the M.V. Zia Belle, our first heavy-lift tweendecker, which solidifies TBS’ operational capabilities in project cargoes and complements our multipurpose tweendecker fleet. Adding heavy-lift capability in the TBS Fleet will better enable TBS to service our growing list of customers engaged in global projects in the energy, mining, steel, construction and infrastructure industries which require vessels with heavy-lift capabilities.
“Unlike a traditional dry bulk company which charters its vessels to other companies or trades its ships in the spot market, TBS has been able to achieve consistent growth with the implementation of our ‘Business First, Fleet Second’ strategy as well as our foundation of direct customer relationships. Despite the volatility in the shipping markets, our business continues to grow and we continue to evaluate opportunities to expand our fleet.”