November 27 - Thorco Shipping has acquired five 18,000 dwt modern tweendeckers, each equipped with three 80-tonne capacity cranes.

The five vessels - built in 2010, 2011 and 2012 respectively - will replace some of the older tonnage in Thorco's fleet, with the company phasing out four green-type vessels that are around 15-16 years old, later this year.

The multipurpose dry cargo vessels, which have overall lengths of 161.5 m and breadths of 25.2 m, are strengthened for heavy cargoes. 

The vessels, which will start being delivered to the Danish shipping company in mid December 2015, will form a new Thorco R-class.

According to Thorco ceo Thomas Mikkelsen, expansion within the 15,000-20,000 dwt segment is a strategic focus for the company.

"The new vessels are of a well-known design to Thorco, have high specifications, are modern and more fuel efficient, which all together meet the increasing demands of the industry and optimise our performance and efficiency to serve our clients in the best way," said Mikkelsen.

Christian Stadil, owner and ceo of Thorco's parent company Thornico, commented: "We firmly believe that when a market is under pressure, when the market is like a closed door, this also equals an open door in terms of the opportunities that will arise, so when an opportunity like this presents itself, we strike."

A newbuilding programme is also underway at Thorco, with seven new L-class vessels delivered to the company and three remaining. HLPFI reported on November 26 that the eighth vessel, Thorco Logic, had been launched by Hyundai Heavy Industries in Japan.