The following is the text of a news release from Algoma Central Corp.:
(ST. CATHARINES, Ontario) — Algoma Central Corp. announced that it is has signed conditional contracts to build three 740-foot Seaway Max self-unloading bulk freighters to join the company’s Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Waterway dry-bulk fleet.
These contracts, which are with Uljanik of Croatia, replace three of the contracts with a Chinese shipyard that were canceled earlier this year. The agreements are contingent upon delivery by the shipyard of acceptable security for the construction installments required under the contracts.
“Our experience with the Uljanik Group on the Equinox 650-class project has given us confidence in the shipyard’s ability to deliver high-quality vessels on the agreed timelines," said Ken Bloch Soerensen, president and CEO of Algoma. “Our Equinox project has faced significant delays as a result of the financial problems encountered by Nantong Mingde shipyard. Working closely with Uljanik, we are confident in the continuation of Algoma’s fleet renewal project.”
These new Equinox-class ships will feature a boom forward configuration designed to provide greater flexibility in certain delivery situations. The vessels will have an overall length of 225.55 meters (740 feet) and a beam of 23.77 meters (78 feet), qualifying as Seaway Max size ships. The vessels will carry 29,300 tonnes at maximum Seaway draft.
The new Equinox vessels will have all of the features of the existing Equinox design, including the exhaust gas scrubber technology pioneered by Algoma on the Great Lakes in its first Equinox-class gearless bulk carriers. The first vessel is scheduled for delivery in early 2018 with the balance of the ships delivered by the end of that year. Algoma is continuing discussions with other parties on further fleet renewal opportunities.