Brazilian mining company Vale has agreed to sell four existing very large ore carriers (VLOCs) to China Merchants Energy Shipping (CMES).

The companies have extended a long-term framework agreement for strategic cooperation on seaborne cargo transportation, as well as integrated logistics.

Both parties previously signed an agreement for this in September 2014.

Weighing 400,000t, the deadweight vessels are currently operated by Vale and have been designed to help minimise the cost of shipping the steelmaking materials to China from Brazil, Reuters reported.

"Weighing 400,000t, the deadweight vessels have been designed to help minimise the cost of shipping the steelmaking materials to China from Brazil."

The latest move is part of the company’s strategy to raise cash in the middle a slump in iron ore price, while improving relations with shipping companies in China.

Vale said in a statement that the contract details are yet to be finalised and would be released soon.

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In a separate announcement, the company said it completed the previously agreed sale of four other large iron ore carriers to China Ocean Shipping (Cosco) and hopes to receive $445m from the sale in June.

On 15 May, has completed a $3bn syndicated revolving credit facility, which would replace the $3bn line that was signed in 2011.

The company said that the total available amount in revolving credit facilities stands at $5bn, as it already has $2bn existing agreement.

Said to serve as liquidity sources for Vale and some of its wholly owned subsidiaries, the facilities could be drawn at any time throughout their life.

Image: Vale’s very large ore carriers. Photo: courtesy of Vale.