Bangladesh Shipping Corporation (BSC) is to borrow US$184.5mn from China Exim Bank for the purchase of six new vessels.

The agreement marks the conclusion of a financial saga that stretches back four years, when BSC signed a memorandum with the Chinese government to purchase the ships. The project was approved by the Bangladeshi government in 2015 and the ships are now set for a delivery date in 2018.

The pricing of the loan is 2% over 20 years, with a five-year grace period. The framework is under that of Chinese government concessional loans. The loan will be disbursed in Chinese currency totalling Rmb1.2bn, as per the request of the Bangladeshi government.

BSC is a state-owned but autonomously operated company which operates a fleet of ships and tankers typically used for exporting garments and importing crude oil from the Middle East.

Three of the vessels will be oil tankers. The other three are bulk carriers. Their addition will bring the total BSC fleet to 19 – the first upgrade it has undergone since the early 1990s.