It is nearly six months since G2 Ocean began work on Labour Day, and the changes continue to roll in thick and fast.
The joint venture between Gearbulk and Grieg Star is present in 16 different countries on six continents with headquarters in Bergen, Norway. In total approximately 130 vessels are operated by the pool. That includes open hatch, semi-open and conventional bulk carriers. The company is held 65% by Gearbulk and 35% by Grieg Star.
“It’s still work in progress as we are only six months in but we feel we are moving in the right direction,” G2 Ocean’s CEO Rune Birkeland says. “We have already swapped vessels between trades to improve services and are offering some customers higher frequency and more choice as a result of the bigger fleet and network. In addition we have been able to rationalise and the savings achieved have helped considerably.”
As with much of dry bulk, Birkeland is cautiously optimistic about the open hatch trades, a segment G2 Ocean is now a dominant player in.
“In line with the general market, prospects for open hatch are improving slowly,” he says.
Nevertheless, this Scandinavian outfit is having to face up to growing competition from Asia where the likes of China’s Cosco and South Korea’s Pan Ocean have been building up their own open hatch (OH) fleets of late.
“There is plenty of competition in the OH market,” Birkeland concedes. “In some cases this comes from containers, in others it is the MPP companies and in others the established OH players. We regard Pan Ocean and Cosco as just two more players in a competitive market.”
Despite low newbuild prices, the G2 boss says he has no intentions of ordering new ships at present.
“We have a lot of young vessels in the fleet and are ok for a few years, we have time to decide,” he concludes.