Global agribusiness giant Cargill is expanding its global transportation and logistics network with an expansion investment in the Russian grain terminal of Rostov and the purchase of new baby-cape vessels.

The company planned to invest 600-660M rubles (US$9.5-10.5M) to increase the capacity of the Rostov terminal by 50% to 1M tonnes/year, build a 20,000 tonne silo and extend the quay wall from 142m to 314m, wrote World Grain on 5 July.

Construction work at the terminal was expected to begin in 2019.

In addition, Cargill signed an agreement on 27 June with China’s CSSC Leasing, a division of China State Shipbuilding Corp (CSSC), to time-charter four new baby-cape vessels with an option for two more.

Baby-cape vessels were typically between 90,700 and 109,000 deadweight tonnes and could provide suppliers with the opportunity to load an optimum amount of cargo, Cargill said.

“These vessels will be among the most efficient in the market. Every aspect of the design, build and management ensures they will perform at the highest level,” said Cargill ocean transportation business president, Jan Dieleman.

The ships, which would primarily transport grains and coal, would be built by CSSC’s Huangpu Wenchong Shipbuilding and delivered throughout 2020.

Jeremy Bryan, Cargill’s global physical trading lead, said demand for baby-cape vessels had grown significantly in recent years.