The National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia (NSCSA) is set to double the size of its fleet by 2011, adding more Very Large Crude Carriers.
The NSCSA embarked upon the plan in 2006, with delays following the financial recession.
The company will have 50 VLCCs and chemical tankers by 2011 and will continue to hire crew to man these ships, Saleh A Al-Shamekh, president of NSCSA, says.
NSCSA received two VLCCs in 2007 and is expecting another four to be delivered in 2009. The double-hulled vessels have a capacity of 2.1 million barrels and a deadweight tonnage of more than 300,000.
Including the new builds, the fleet's total capacity will increase to 5,250 million deadweight tonnage.
'Earnings for VLCCs have held up despite the downturn in shipping at large,' Al-Shamekh comments. 'Revenue wise, (2008) has been good. I can say it is a record year and it will surpass our growth last year.'
OPEC production is the main driver for businesses in the VLCCs, he notes. 'The changes in the IEA and EIA forecasts that oil demand will stop growing in the second half of 2009 will also affect us.'
In 2003, NSCSA acquired a 30% stake in Petredec, an LPG trader and shipowner which operates a fleet of more than 50 LPG vessels with a total cargo volume of 795,000 m³, including two VLGCs each with a capacity of 83,000m³.
NSCSA also has an 80% stake in the National Chemical Carriers, which has 12 chemical carriers and another 10 are under construction, an order that was expanded to 16 vessels for delivery from 2009 to 2011.