Japan’s premier shipowner, the maritime giant MOL (Mitsui O.S.K. Lines) listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, is set to complete the acquisition of the Bergen-based shipowner and operator Gearbulk from Kristian Jebsen, with the deal anticipated to be finalized in the first quarter of 2025. MOL (Mitsui O.S.K. Lines) initially bought a 40% interest in Gearbulk back in 1991, and over time increased its share to 49%, while Kristian Jebsen held onto a 51% majority. Gearbulk, established in 1968, is the world’s leading operator of open-hatch bulk carriers. MOL (Mitsui O.S.K. Lines) has now revealed plans to expand its stake to 72% by Q1 2025. Based in Bergen, Gearbulk operates a fleet of 60 bulk carriers and has additional vessels under construction in China. The terms of the acquisition have yet to be disclosed. MOL (Mitsui O.S.K. Lines), a subsidiary of the Mitsui Group, has a history of investments in Norwegian maritime enterprises such as Odfjell Oceanwind, Larvik Shipping, and AKOFS Offshore. 25-June-2024


Bergen-based shipowner and operator Gearbulk, specializing in open hatch bulk carriers, has secured a contract for up to four 82K dwt kamsarmax bulk carriers that are ready for ammonia and methanol, to be constructed at CSSC Huangpu Wenchong Longxue Shipyard. This agreement includes two guaranteed kamsarmax bulk carrier newbuilds slated for delivery in the first quarter of 2027, along with the option to acquire two additional bulk carriers. These kamsarmax bulk carrier newbuilds, prepared for ammonia and methanol use, will be managed by G2 Ocean and will complement the fleet alongside the newbuild pulpmax sister bulk carriers previously ordered by Gearbulk’s joint venture partner, Grieg Maritime Group, in 2023. This expansion will increase the count of dual-fuel 82K DWT open hatch bulk carriers to eight. G2 Ocean notes that these upcoming ammonia and methanol-ready 82K kamsarmax bulk carrier newbuilds will rank as the largest, most eco-friendly, and most technologically sophisticated vessels in its extensive fleet of over 120 bulk carriers, perfectly aligning with Gearbulk’s extensive pulp trade routes. 8-April-2024


Bergen-based shipowner and operator Gearbulk renegotiated terms for long-term charters of bulk carriers with Japanese shipowners and banks. Gearbulk suggested prolonging ships’ charter periods under reduced daily hire rates. Previously, Gearbulk’s chartered-in tonnage between 10 and 15 years from Japanese shipowners. Nevertheless, Gearbulk proposed deals 20 years at a reduced rate. Since July 2020, Gearbulk has negotiating to reduce charter rates with Japanese shipowners including Funada Kaiun, Chofuku Kisen, Shichifuku Gumi, Chiba Shipping, Misuga Shipping, Doun Kisen, and Marubeni. Gearbulk’s chartered-in bulk carriers are highly specialized ships, therefore, Japanese shipowners would have found it challenging to retake redelivery and operate or sell these specialized ships. Gearbulk operates gantry crane fitted open-hatch bulk carriers that are designed for carrying wood pulp, paper, packaged, and industrial cargoes. Gearbulk operates gantry crane fitted open-hatch bulk carriers with partner Grieg Star Group in the G2 Ocean open-hatch bulker pool. Japanese shipowner and operator Mitsui OSK Lines is a major shareholder in Gearbulk. 19-October-2020


Bergen-based shipowner and operator Gearbulk asked Japanese shipowners to accept performance-based charter rates as the first move in a substantial restructuring of Gearbulk’s charter commitments. Kristian Gerhard Jebsen-led Gearbulk explained the financial difficulties the company could suffer if the Japanese shipowners do not renegotiate charter contracts. Gantry-crane fitted open-hatch bulker operator Gearbulk requires Japanese shipowners to accept a new charter rate based on daily earnings in the G2 Ocean Pool. Norwegian shipowner and operator Gearbulk operates specialized open-hatch bulk carriers in G2 Ocean Pool with Grieg Shipping. Gearbulk requested Japanese shipowners to prolong the long-term contracts from 10-year to 20-year which will provide shipowners a fixed income. According to Norwegian shipowner and operator Gearbulk, it is utterly impossible to operate the ships at agreed rates under prevailing dry bulk market circumstances due to the post-coronavirus recession. Gearbulk’s specialized gantry-crane fitted open-hatch bulk carriers are also of little commercial use to Japanese shipowners outside the highly-specialized trades in which the G2 Ocean Pool operates. Previously, in 2016, Japanese shipowners had granted a temporary rate reduction to Gearbulk. Bergen-based shipowner and operator Gearbulk’s open-hatch bulk carriers are provided by Funada Kaiun, Chofuku Kisen, Shichifuku Gumi, Chiba Shipping, Doun Kisen, Misuga Shipping, and Marubeni. 23-April-2020


Norwegian open-hatch bulker operator Gearbulk requested Japanese tonnage suppliers to reduce ship charter rates. Funada Kaiun, Chofuku Kisen, Shichifuku Gumi, Chiba Shipping, Doun Kisen, Misuga Shipping, and Marubeni chartered-out specialized gantry-crane fitted open-hatch bulk carriers to Gearbulk for a long-term. Gearbulk’s business has been hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Kristian Gerhard Jebsen-led Gearbulk pronounced that previously executed agreements were based on charter rates which are no longer sustainable. According to Gearbulk, the unexpected Covid-19 pandemic added extra pressure on an already challenging global business environment. Post-coronavirus recession came on tip of a severe dry cargo market that has strived with unsustainable low freight rates for a long time. Gearbulk has performed an extensive cost reduction programme and a bank debt restructuring. Bergen-based open-hatch bulker operator Gearbulk trust that Japanese shipowners will approve this project. Currently, Gearbulk controls a mixed fleet of 70 open-hatch, other specialized and conventional bulk carriers. Gearbulk’s open-hatch bulk carriers are operated by the G2 Ocean Pool. Mitsui OSK Lines has a 49% stake in Gearbulk. 21-April-2020