Titanic II Commissioner to Build New Fleet of Nickel Ore Freighters

By MarEx 2012-05-07 13:41:19

Clive Palmer, the Australian billionaire responsible for the commissioning of the Titanic II replica ship, has also announced new plans to build and operate a fleet of four nickel ore freighters.

The shipping business, called Asia Pacific Shipping Enterprises, will operate out of Singapore and be majority-owned by the Queensland Nickel Group of Companies, reports Reuters. The fleet will consist of four 64,000-ton vessels to be built by the state-owned Chinese company, CSC Jinling Shipyard, the same ship builder commissioned to build the new Titanic.

The Queensland refinery imports most of its nickel ore feed from New Caledonia, which is 900 miles away. They also use ore from Indonesia and The Philippines. Palmer cut the refinery's annual operating capacity to 35,000 tons from 70,000 tons after buying it in 2009 from BHP Billiton once they no longer had use for it.

Plans to build the new vessels comes during a severe global downturn in shipping industry, which has left hundreds of small to mid-sized shipyards in China balancing on the brink of bankruptcy, says industry insiders.