The New-York listed shipowner SFL Corporation Ltd. (SFL) has announced that it has agreed to acquire two LNG dual-fuel 33,000 dwt chemical carriers.

The vessels are built in 2022/2023 and fitted with stainless steel cargo tanks, and the total purchase price is approximately $114m.

SFL has arranged long term employment for the vessels with affiliates of  Stolt Tankers, a subsidiary of the Norwegian headquartered chemical logistics company Stolt-Nielsen Limited (Stolt-Nielsen).

The company expects to take delivery of the vessels between June and August this year and both vessels will be employed for a minimum of eight years.

One vessel will be on a fixed rate time-charter and one vessel will be employed in a pool with similar-sized vessels.

The fixed rate vessel has extension options of up to three years, in addition to purchase options after year five and eight, subject to a profit share mechanism with SFL.

Ole B. Hjertaker, chief executive of SFL Management AS, said: “The announcement marks another accretive investment for the Company and will add two sophisticated chemical carriers to our fleet.

“With these vessels, we will have six LNG dual-fuel vessels in our fleet, and the transaction demonstrates our ability to expand our portfolio of maritime assets with vessels suitable for long term charters to industry leading companies.

“We are excited to build a new relationship with Stolt-Nielsen who has a market leading position in the logistics for sophisticated chemicals. The market dynamics for stainless-steel chemical tankers are also very favourable now, with steady underlying growth in demand, ageing fleet and a limited orderbook.

“The combination of fixed-rate charter and pool earnings will therefore give us the opportunity to participate in a strong market, while also providing increased charter backlog.”

Udo Lange, chief executive, Stolt-Nielsen, noted: “I’m pleased to announce our new partnership with SFL Corporation on two modern chemical tankers. As well as securing attractively priced on-the-water tonnage in a firm chemical tanker market, these modern, dual-fuel ships will lower the age profile and carbon intensity of our fleet while offering more flexibility in our core 33,000 deadweight segment.

“This transaction also demonstrates our commitment to asset-light fleet replacement with best-in-class partners like SFL Corporation, NYK Line, and CMB Group to enhance profitability and reduce our balance sheet intensity.

“As a leading liquid logistics provider, it is critical Stolt-Nielsen balances capital allocation across all our businesses to drive further improvements in our industry leading customer service offering and reliability.”

Source: SFL Corporation