Chennai-based India Cements Ltd (ICL) is said to be planning to add a third bulker of around 40,000dwt to its fleet.
Sources add that ICL is eyeing an acquisition from domestic owners including Shipping Corp of India (SCI), Essar Shipping and Great Eastern Shipping, all of which are looking to dispose of older bulkers.
However, ICL shipping-division president Krishnamoorthy Shankar told TradeWinds: "We will certainly not be buying any vessel until March next year."
The company is waiting for the dry-bulk market to bottom out before it takes the plunge.
Shankar says ICL was contemplating a purchase this year but had to postpone it because of the market downturn. He adds that the proposed acquisition will be used exclusively to import coal from Southeast Asia for its cement plants and upcoming power plant in southern India.
ICL has already bought two bulkers this year - the 38,000dwt Chennai Valarchi (built 1986) from Essar for around US$28m and 42,000dwt handysize Chennai Jayam (ex-Effy N, built 1983) from AM Nomikos for around US$30m.
The company has chartered out the Chennai Valarchi to state-owned utility Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) to transport coal from Southeast Asia.