Bulk shipping companies Gearbulk and Grieg Star have announced their intensions to join forces in a joint venture that will operate a combined fleet of more than 130 dry bulk vessels.
The joint venture will be 65% owned by Gearbulk, with Grieg Star owning the remaining 35%.
The name of the joint venture is yet to be decided, but it will be established as an in- dependent Norwegian company with headquarters in Bergen, Norway and with own resources and offices around the world.
“This agreement represents the firm intention of both companies to build an improved range of services for our customers. The combined number of vessels and trades will make it easier for our customers to find services that fit their needs,” says Kristian Jeb- sen, Chairman/CEO of Gearbulk.
The Chief Executive Officer of the new company will be Rune Birkeland, and the Chief Commercial Officer will be Arthur English. Subject to completion of final agreements, corporate authorizations and relevant regulatory approvals having been obtained, the joint venture is expected to be fully operational through the first half of 2017.
“We see our two operations as complementary, making this joint venture a natural next step for our companies. In an increasingly competitive market, we believe this new entity will have the size to build and sustain a versatile and independent shipping service,” says Camilla Grieg, CEO of Grieg Star.
The total number of vessels operated by the joint venture will be over 130, according to the companies. The website VesselValues.com estimates the combined fleet to be worth approximately $814 million, including Grieg Star’s two ultramax newbuilds at Dayang Shipbulding in China.
The two parties will retain their independent technical ship management and ownership in the vessels. The JV will exclude activities and vessels operated by Gearbulk in association with other third parties, as well as its terminal business, transshipment activities, operation of liquid pitch tankers and caustic bulk vessels. For Grieg Star, their terminal businesses will also remain outside the scope of the new JV.