Dry bulk merger G2 Ocean hunting for new cargoes

3PL Bulk Logistics

Six months have passed since the launch of G2 Ocean, the new joint venture between two Norwegian carriers Gearbulk and Grieg Star.

The goal of the two companies, owned by the two families Jebsen and Grieg, which are active in several sectors of Norwegian industry, was to provide cheaper and better dry bulk shipping operations.

G2 Ocean

A joint venture between the two Norwegian dry bulk carriers Grieg Star and Gearbulk. Operates the world’s largest fleet of open hatch dry bulk vessels. Launched on May 1. Based in Bergen.

And in an interview with ShippingWatch, the venture’s board of directors, Kristian Jebsen, did not shy away from the fact that G2 Ocean was born in a very challenging time for the shipping sector characterized by “weak financial results.”

This strategy seems to have been on target so far. At any rate, G2 Ocean CEO Rune Birkeland explains in an interview with ShippingWatch that since the venture was launched on May 1, it has only lost one customer, while many new customers have signed on.

“There’s been an extreme amount of activity in terms of getting G2 Ocean up and running. The organization consists of people from both carriers, the IT platform is new, and we’ve established a new commercial setup with hub offices in Singapore and Rio and at our headquarters in Bergen. There have been some technical challenges related to working in this way, but customers have fortunately not experienced any major issues, and, in a survey we did, they were more positive toward the new setup than we expected,” he says.

Project cargo accounts for more and more

G2 Ocean operates a fleet of almost 130 dry bulk vessels and has the world’s largest fleet of so-called open hatch vessels.

We’re also betting big on the project cargo market, which accounts for an increasingly important part of our business”

— Rune Birkeland, CEO, G2 Ocean

Since the company was launched, several new customers have reached out, and the company is generally trying to bring on new customers for the two types of cargo G2 Ocean deals in.

“Our biggest cargo type is paper and wood pulp products. We’d like to get more of this, and we’re so established in this market that we’re constantly signing new contracts,” says Birkeland:

“So it’s more important to us to also be able to fix more cargoes in other types, such as transporting aluminum and steel. We’re also betting big on the project cargo market, which accounts for an increasingly important part of our business.”

The company also aims to secure more conventional bulk cargoes in addition to the cargoes on its open hatch vessels, which represent the vast majority of the 100 vessel fleet.

“The open hatch segment continues to grow and is more stable in terms of earnings, but we’d also very much like to make more money on conventional bulk cargoes,” says Birkeland.

There is also fierce competition for open hatch cargoes – from major competitors such as Saga Welco, also Norwegian, as well as from container carriers, which are increasingly biting into the project cargo market.

It ends here

The creation of G2 Ocean is part of the consolidation trend in the dry bulk sector.

Rune Birkeland

Before taking over as CEO of G2 Ocean, Rune Birkeland served as CEO of Grieg Star. He has in the past served 11 year as chief executive of another Grieg company, Grieg Logistics. He has also been a board member at several Norwegian companies, including Norwind Installer.

Though the merger of parts of the business in G2 Ocean has so far been beneficial to Grieg Star and Gearbulk, there will be no more merging of activities for now.

“We have no plans of further consolidation,” says Birkeland:

“The next step for us now is to make significant headway in terms of digitalization at the company, and to try new models in terms of optimal fleet operations.”

Elisabeth and Camilla Mariann Grieg. Photo: Grieg Star.

Gearbulk owns 65 percent of G2 Ocean, and the rest is owned by Grieg Bulk. G2 Ocean’s board of directors is chaired by Kristian Jebsen, while other board members include Elisabeth Grieg and Camilla Mariann Grieg, the latter of which serves as CEO of Grieg Star.

Hans Petter Aas and Hans Olav Lindal, from the Gearbulk board of directors, also serve on the G2 Ocean board.

English Edit: Daniel Logan Berg-Munch


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BY LOUISE VOGDRUP-SCHMIDT