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Cargill to put up to 20 Medium Range tankers in Maersk pool

Singapore — Cargill will put up to 20 of its Medium Range tankers into the Maersk Tankers pool from next month, to improve earnings, making it among the world's largest in the segment, the two companies said Monday, unveiling a strategic partnership, a statement issued by them said.

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The partnership assumes significance as tankers' companies worldwide are eyeing consolidation to improve earnings. At the beginning of the year, the merger of Hafnia Tankers and Bw Tankers was operationalized.

In January, Japan's Asahi Tanker Co. and Mitsui OSK Lines formed an MR pool to cater to the demand in the East of Suez region, sources said.

The Maersk Tankers pool has 44 MRs belonging to 10 partners.

The number was expected to rise to more than 60. Both companies intend to attract additional vessels from other shipowners and further increase the pool's capacity over time, they said.

Shipping industry sources said three members of Cargill's team will join the Maersk Tankers' pool, which will be headed by Anders Okkels Birk.

Algorithmic trading will be used to position the vessels and staff will be located in Copenhagen, Singapore and Houston, they said.

The agreement does not include derivatives or MR tankers for period, or time charter employment, which will be handled by the two companies independently, the companies' statement said.

--Sameer C. Mohindru,

--Edited by Dan Lalor,