Christian W. Berg has led the Bergen-based offshore carrier for one-and-half months. A carrier, which much like the majority in the offshore sector, has been battling with big deficits and securing work for its vessesls.
Berg is no stranger to crisis, from his time at Viking Supply Ships where he oversaw a major restructuring. He also knows full-well what his biggest task is at GC Rieber Shipping.
“The most important task is to structure the company to further grow, either via consolidation or by eliminating distressed assets [from the market – ed.] GCRS has a good track record with asset play and we will build further on that,” he writes in an email to ShippingWatch.
The latest half-yearly report from the carrier shows that the bottom line is moving in the right direction, although there is still the issued of a NOK 84.6 million deficit against a NOK 157.7 deficit in the same half of 2016. Currently, Berg says the biggest challenge is keeping the ships in work.
GC Rieber Shipping has three vessels in the subsea segment, as well as four vessels in the seismic segment, which were first impacted when the crisis took hold.
Thus, the carrier opted to put its seismic vessels into the company Sheawater Geoservices, a collaboration between a second Norwegian shipping family, the Rasmussen group.
When the opportunity presents itself
“Thus far, we have had relatively good contract coverage and don’t have any ships laid up. In the short term, it’s important to keep the vessels in work. In the long term, we will expand, when the right opportunities present themselves,” he says, elaborating:
“The biggest opportunities for GCRS are within the subsea-segment, but preliminarily we have a cautious attitude, as we are primarily on the look out for high-quality assets.”
Berg was engaged in his own project when he was contacted by GC Rieber. With the company Bech Offshore, he will operate commercial management for banks and others, who are taking over distressed vessels. Berg will also find investment opportunities in the same segment, and in connection with this had several concrete projects in the works at the time GC Rieber contacted him, he explains.
“After several rounds with GCRS, I realized that we had a number of coinciding thoughts about both the market and opportunities. Furthermore, the company operates with areas where I have a lot of experience from subsea, seismic and ice,” says Berg.
Demanding market continues
While several carriers have announced that the market looks better, there is still a long road ahead. Chairman Paul-Chr. Rieber warned a few months ago against the belief that the industry would be able to quickly recoup its losses, or that it would ever return to what it was.
“We expect a continued demanding market in and over the course of 2018. At the same time, we see individual bright spots with slightly higher bidding activity and longer duration of supply in the market,” writes Berg.
English Edit: Lena Rutkowski
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BY KATRINE GRØNVALD RAUN