Italian short-sea shipping company Atlantica di Navigazione has purchased six roll-on, roll-off vessels from Hong Kong-based bulk carrier operator Pacific Basin for 153 million euros [$196 million].
Atlantica, a subsidiary of the Naples-based Grimaldi group that operates in the Mediterranean freight trades, will buy at least one ship every six months through the end of 2015.
The two companies have also entered into a bareboat charter agreement under which Atlantica will lease the six ships until they are delivered.
Charters of the first two vessels are expected to start at the end of October and a further two by the end of January 2013.
Pacific Basin, one of the world’s leading operators of Handysize and Handymax bulk carriers, said it is selling the vessels because it no longer regards ro-ro shipping as a core activity. The ro-ro ships, built in 2009-2011, lost $81 million in 2011, including an impairment charge of $80 million.
Pacific Basin’s fleet, including orders, comprises over 230 ships -- bulk carriers between 25,000 –- 65,000 deadweight tons and harbor tugs.
Atlantica’s acquisition strengthens parent Grimaldi’s position as Europe largest ro-ro shipping line, operating on intra-European routes and to West Africa and South America and North America through its ownership of New Jersey-based Atlantic Container Line [ACL] which recently placed an order for five of the world’s largest multipurpose ro/ro- container vessels.
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