Gulf Navigation commissions chemical tankers from China's Wuchang

Gulf Navigation yesterday announced plans to significantly expand its chemical tanker fleet via a strategic partnership with Chinese heavy industry giant Wuchang Group, as the com­pany moves to consolidate its debt burden.

Under the agreement, struck at Gulf Navigation’s most recent board meeting, Wuchang will build six chemical tankers for the shipping group based in Dubai.

The financial details of the arrangement were not disclosed.

Gulf Navigation said that the move aims to meet the increasing demand for transferring chemicals from the UAE and other GCC countries to global markets.

“This partnership … is a significant step that will enable us to strengthen the company’s capabilities by expanding our fleet with modern and advanced tankers,” said Khamis Juma Buamim, Gulf Navigation’s group chief executive. “This will enhance our competitiveness in the transfer of chemicals; a market that is steadily expanding and is witnessing increasing demand.”

Mr Buamim said the com­pany was seeking further strategic partnerships with foreign companies, giving no further details.

Gulf Navigation said last month that it had reduced its debt to US$21 million from $36m and hoped to consolidate all of its borrowings before the end of this year, in an attempt to end a long-running dispute with creditors.

Gulf Navigation shares closed down 0.86 per cent at Dh1.15.

The company’s shares have been among the best performers on Dubai’s stock exchange so far this year, rising 87 per cent compared with a 5 per cent gain by the emirate’s headline index.

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John Everington

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