DHT Holdings behind order for four VLCCs at South Korean yards

Bermuda-based crude oil tanker company DHT Holdings placed orders for four very large crude carriers (VLCCs) at South Korean shipyards Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries, part of HD Korea Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (HD KSOE), and Hanwha Ocean.

Ultra-large crude oil carrier built by Hanwha Ocean; Photo: Hanwha Ocean

As disclosed, the vessels have been ordered to high specifications with new super eco-designs and premium earning power through improved fuel economics, reduced emissions and large carrying capacity of about 320,000 metric tons.

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The ships will be fitted with exhaust gas cleaning systems, be Tier III compliant, hold class-ready notations for multiple fuels, to further improve the DHT fleet efficiencies.

The average price is $128 million for the four ships. The contracts include options for an additional four vessels that can be delivered during the first half of 2027.

The ships are slated for delivery between April and December 2026. 

“We have secured very early and competitive delivery slots to build the most efficient ships and of the highest quality the market has to offer,” President & CEO, Svein Moxnes Harfjeld, stated.

“We expect our clients to welcome these timely fleet additions through DHT’s continued safe, efficient and reliable transportation of crude oil.”

According to DHT, the current orderbook with the supply of new VLCCs equals less than 3 percent of the existing fleet. Delivery slots for potential additional VLCC orders are available from 2027 onwards. These potential delivery slots face competition from several other shipping segments.

Moreover, the VLCC fleet is rapidly aging. By the end of 2026, close to 50% of the fleet is projected to be older than 15-years of age and over 20% will be older than 20-years.

About 160 VLCCs, with an average age of 21-years, are estimated to have been involved in sanctioned trades. These vessels have limited if any, commercial opportunities in the compliant markets and trades, DHT noted.

To remind, in September last year, DHT joined forces with classification society ABS and French containment specialist Gaztransport & Technigaz (GTT) to optimize a new, very large crude carrier (VLCC) with liquified natural gas (LNG) propulsion.

The agreement will see ABS, GTT and DHT focus on optimizing the VLCC design, exploring the total cost of operation by analyzing the operating profile and fuel availability at frequently visited ports.

Furthermore, the companies will also collaborate on subjects such as LNG fuel volume, tank size optimization and impact on regulatory measures.

IMO’s implementation of the Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) will increasingly constrain the efficiency of the older end of the fleet. Ships in this category may be forced to decrease speed to meet lower emissions targets thereby reducing shipping capacity.

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