China COSCO Holdings said on Friday that vessel seizures during contract disputes are common as it is embroiled in disagreements with several shipowners over payments.

China COSCO's President Zhang Liang told a news conference that the company had the ability to handle shipping lease disputes and added that its financial position was healthy.

The country's top shipping conglomerate has sought better terms for lease contracts signed during the peak of the market, but its decision to halt payments to several shipowners in recent weeks has threatened to taint its reputation within the international shipping community.

China COSCO operates the world's largest bulk cargo fleet and is the No.6 container shipping firm globally.