UAE-based logistics firm Tristar Transport Company has signed a $200m order for six new tankers from South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Mipo Dockyard, in a deal that suggests conditions in the shipping industry are beginning to improve.

The meidum-range and chemcial vessels will be delivered in 2016 and will be placed on a long-term charter with an oil company. The ships are designed to be highly fuel-efficient, which will help the oil major counter the rising cost of bunkering.

Tristar anticipates that demand for these ships will be strong due to an expected recovery in the shipping industry, the firm said in a statement. Tankers hauling refined oil products are forecast to return to profitability from next year, for the first time since 2008. The crude oil refining capabilities of the Middle East are also being expanded that will generate further demand for vessels.

In 2011, Tristar disposed of two old medium-range tankers and has been waiting for signs of a market upturn to acquire new ships.

Following this latest deal with South Korea, Tristar says it intends to acquire further ships in the future.