Abu Dhabi: The National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia (Bahri) is to be the largest VLCC (very large crude carrier) operator in the world after it acquires ten more super tankers in the coming years, a senior executive of the company told Gulf News in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

“We placed orders for ten more VLCCs to be delivered in the next two years with an investment of $1 billion. We will be the largest VLCC operator once we have them,” said Matthew Luckhurst, line manager at Bahri general cargo.

The company has signed a contract with Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries last year to build the giant ships that are capable of carrying huge amount of crude oil in a single trip.

Currently, the company operates 36 VLCCs transporting crude from Saudi Arabia to the rest of the world. “There is growth in the market and we are committed to crude oil industry,” said Luckhurst without giving further details.

Bahri is the second largest owner of VLCCs in the world and the largest owner of chemical tankers in the Middle East.

The company owns 83 vessels including 36 VLCCs, 36 chemical, six multipurpose vessels and five dry-bulk carriers. It is 20 per cent owned by Saudi Aramco.

Matthews was speaking to Gulf News on the sidelines of a press conference to announce details Breakbulk Middle East conference that will be held in Abu Dhabi from October 23 to 26.

The conference will bring together the region’s leading shippers, carriers, freight forwarders, transport specialists and related service providers to discuss current trends in the market.