Shipping and Maritime

G2 Ocean

G2 Ocean to Take Part in USD 20 Million Automation Project

June 15, 2020 - G2 Ocean is partnering up with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and 22 maritime industry partners to study safe methods and technology for enabling ship automation.

On June 12, 2020, The Research Council of Norway announced that is awarding more than USD 20 million to Norwegian research project Safe Autonomous Ships (SFI Autoship). The strategic research project studies methods and technology for enabling safe and secure autonomous operations of maritime vessels.

The aim of the project is to ensure that Norwegian players take a leading role in the development of ship automation, especially within the areas of technology, business models and security.

G2 Ocean and one of its owners, Grieg Star, are two of the 22 partners involved in the project.

“This is an exciting collaboration between world-leading researchers and industry partners. Developing partnerships and supporting knowledge sharing is important to drive the maritime industry towards a digital future,” says Vice President Project Cargo & Innovation Leif Arne Strømmen.

Autonomous cargo handling

The development of autonomation is gaining increasing attention in the maritime industry both nationally and internationally.

G2 Ocean’s participation in the project is mainly related to autonomous cargo handling as this is expected to expand in the future.

“The largest cost to the shipowner, apart from bunkers, is the vessel’s time in port. Over the years, we expect to see more ports with 24 hours working time through better automation, without increasing labour requirements but significantly improving their safety,” VP Operations Phil Curran says.

The project’s academic focus areas include:

  • Innovations in enabling technologies, such as situation awareness, artificial intelligence, digital infrastructure, simulation, and testing.
  • New business models and operational concepts for the use of autonomous vessels.
  • Guaranteeing safety and security of using autonomous ships.

About G2 Ocean

G2 Ocean is a joint venture of two of the world’s leading breakbulk and bulk shipping companies: Gearbulk and Grieg Star. The company operates the largest fleet of open hatch vessels worldwide, in addition to a substantial fleet of conventional bulk carriers. For further information, visit:

SOURCE: G2 Ocean


G2 Ocean - Star Nike bulk carrier

G2 Ocean Strengthens Fleet with a New Bulk Carrier

June 8, 2020 - G2 Ocean announced that Star Nike, a new-building of 63,000 deadweight tonnage capacity, joined G2 Ocean’s bulk pool on June 5.

Star Nike is a conventional bulk carrier constructed and equipped at a first-class shipbuilding dockyard at Imabari, Japan. She was named and delivered to Grieg Star on June 5, 2020, and is on a Long Term Time Charter contract.

Vice President Bulk Petter Mowinckel at G2 Ocean is honoured to be trusted with another Ultramax from Grieg Star.

“Amid COVID-19, the delivery of Star Nike underlines our commitment to offering the best possible service to both new and existing customers, even at challenging times,” Mowinckel says.

“The ship offers the highest standards of safety, stability, and fuel efficiency. She will not only give us a competitive advantage but also allow us to provide additional capacity and flexibility to our customers,” he adds.

Star Nike is named after a goddess from Greek mythology. Nike is the goddess of strength, speed and victory – symbolising famous athletes and their victorious competitions.

About G2 Ocean

G2 Ocean is a joint venture of two of the world’s leading breakbulk and bulk shipping companies: Gearbulk and Grieg Star. The company operates the largest fleet of open hatch vessels worldwide, in addition to a substantial fleet of conventional bulk carriers. For further information, visit:

SOURCE: G2 Ocean


global freight

Coalition Issues Joint Call For World Governments to Introduce ‘Key Worker’ Designations for Transport Workers

June 3, 2020 (Breakbulk Magazine) - A coalition of industry organizations has issued a joint call for world governments to introduce ‘key worker’ designations for skilled personnel in essential global breakbulk operations in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The joint statement – issued by the International Maritime Organization, the International Civil Aviation Organization, and the International Labour Organization – calls for ‘key worker’ designations for a wide range of transport workers.

“Our three Organizations seek to ensure that seafarers, marine personnel, fishing vessel personnel, offshore energy sector personnel, aviation personnel, air cargo supply chain personnel, service provider personnel at airports and ports are designated as ‘key workers’, regardless of nationality, to exempt them from travel restrictions, to ensure their access to emergency medical treatment and, if necessary, to facilitate emergency repatriation,” the organisation said in a joint statement.

Air freight

As logistic supply chains have been disrupted by lockdowns, transport hubs are being impacted flight crew and aircraft frequently denied entry to countries and shutdown of airports leading to large delays.

“We are seeking the support of Governments to facilitate crew changes, operations essential to maintain the global cargo supply chains and operations,” a spokesperson for the ICAO said.

The ICAO states that airfreight represents 35% of the value of goods shipped in all modes combined with 887,000 licensed aviation professionals in 2019.

Crew changes

The organisations note that more than 80% of global trade by volume is moved by maritime transport, with a global workforce of 2 million seafarers operating the world's merchant ships many of which require transfer.

“It is estimated that from the middle of June 2020 around 150,000 seafarers a month will require international flights in order to be changed over from the ships that they operate, about half travelling by aircraft for repatriation, the other half joining ships,” the organisations state.

SOURCE: Breakbulk Magazine

G2 Ocean

G2 Ocean Expands Use of e-Bills

This article was written by Keith Wallis, Special Correspondent to JOC and is also available on G2 Ocean's website

June 3, 2020 - G2 Ocean, the Norway-based project cargo and breakbulk operator, is expanding its use of electronic bills of lading (e-bills) amid growing interest from tech-savvy customers, even as rivals are taking a more guarded approach.

The global COVID-19 pandemic is spurring a transition to digitized documents. Work-at-home regimes mean people have limited access to printers, couriers, and customs offices, making it challenging to produce and distribute shipping documents, especially negotiable bills of lading, Jonathan Harcourt, G2 Ocean’s director of innovation, told “These issues are all contributing to the shift to digitization,” he said.

In countries such as India, blanket lockdowns have disrupted courier services and delayed deliveries of crucial documents. Many countries would like to fast-track the use and acceptance of e-bills and letters of credit to circumvent these problems, according to specialized blockchain platform provider CargoX, G2 Ocean’s blockchain partner.  Fracht, a Swiss-based project forwarder, also uses the CargoX platform.

Leif Arne Strømmen, G2 Ocean’s vice president for innovation and project cargo, said the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has accelerated a wider move to digitization that was already under way.

“After CargoX was approved by the P&I clubs, and also as a result of COVID-19, we have seen an increased number of requests from customers who want to learn more about the blockchain based e-bill and how they potentially can implement this in order to digitalize the bill of lading process,” Strømmen told

G2 Ocean is currently only using the digitized bills of lading on a trial basis and in select trades, including those connecting Asia with South America, Europe, and Australia. “We have gradually extended e-bills to cover new trade lanes and destinations after going live with the first customer in a pilot trial in the second quarter of 2019,” Harcourt said. The trial involved G2 Ocean customer Manuchar, a Dutch trading and distribution company, whose trading activities include steel, metals, paper, and wood.

“The platform gives customers full visibility over who has the original e-bill in their custody at all times. Other benefits include the elimination of courier-related expenses for paper documents and the speed it takes to distribute digital documents between those involved in the supply chain,” Strømmen said. The digital exchange of documents between Norway and Singapore takes just minutes, compared with several days to courier the paper equivalents, he said.

On the platform

Vjeran Ortynski, chief business development officer at CargoX, told the company’s e-bill platform has about 3,000 registered users, including shipping lines, freight forwarders, and shippers.

“The feedback we are getting is that shipping lines would love to digitize but, given the state of the global economy due to the virus pandemic, just staying alive is their number one priority. But the industry does have to look at different ways of doing things,” Ortynski said.

CargoX is developing a proof of concept for the Indian government, he said. In India, strict lockdown conditions — now beginning to ease — have strangled the traditional bill of lading (BOL) procedure, where paper BOLs, invoices, payments and delivery orders all have to be handled in person. The lockdown created bottlenecks, clogged India’s largest ports with cargo, and led India’s shipping ministry to urge the commerce ministry to fast-track digital solutions, he said.

Ruedi Reisdorf, Fracht’s chief executive officer, told that CargoX was the best solution they’ve found for bills of lading on blockchain. “The benefits are huge — no bill of lading can ever go missing, the transfer can be made within minutes, it is always known who currently has the B/L [bill of lading], and you save three-to-six times the courier costs,” Reisdorf said. He supports CargoX’s open platform because, while it can also be used by competitors, “with proprietary systems you are bound to one carrier and it dictates the terms,” he said.

However, patchy adoption of technology and standards for the use of e-bills across the supply chain are impediments to their adoption. While customs authorities have been largely enthusiastic supporters, banks are more conservative in their approach, G2 Ocean’s Strømmen said.

“While we see more interest in e-bills from our customers, it is still time consuming to implement due to the large number of parties involved in the supply chain,” he said. “These include customers of our customer, banks, customs agents, terminal operators, ship agents, etc., who are all used to an original paper-based bill of lading in their hands with a lot of ink-based stamps and signatures. It takes a lot of time and effort to explain to these same parties the meaning of ‘an original digital bill of lading,’ and the fact that this document is much safer than any original paper bill of lading that today can be faked without any problem.”

As a result of these issues, while Fracht’s Reisdorf said digitized bills work well, he estimates that only 50 to 100 trial shipments have been made around the world using them.

Strømmen said he expected it to take between five and 10 years for digitized bills of lading to take over from traditional paper bills. “I think it will be a slow birth, but then we will see exponential growth in e-bills,” he said.

VP Project Cargo Leif Arne Strømmen and Director of Innovation Jonathan Harcourt.

Is demand there?

Singapore-headquartered multipurpose/heavy-lift (MPV/HL) ship operator AAL is among those that have looked at digitized bills of lading, but see little customer demand.

Frank Mueller, general manager of AAL Australia, told the carrier has explored various providers of e-bill technology but has not seen sufficient demand from customers to justify the time or resources needed for implementation.

“We do not necessarily see any technical advantages, except that in theory e-bills are a lot faster than posting original bills and having the paper bills move through letter-of-credit processes,” he said. This might be important when a very fast transit time is required or when ownership of a shipment transfers multiple times, but this is generally not the case for project and heavy lift cargoes.

Mueller acknowledged the environmental benefits of using less paper, but said AAL is currently reducing its paper waste by printing fewer copies of their bills of lading.

“Obviously there is the environmental impact of switching from paper documents to electronic exchanges, but at this stage we are reducing our paper trail by issuing fewer originals and copies — not the traditional three originals and five copies — as well as offering customers the ability to surrender their bills and have the goods telex-released,” he said. “We are rarely dealing with instances where the original bill is either lost or delayed, and though this could be most likely avoided altogether when using e-bills, so far the demand is not there.”

Other project cargo and heavy lift operators, including BigLift, Spliethoff, and European short-sea carrier UECC, said they are not using e-bills and have not planned any trials.

About G2 Ocean

G2 Ocean is a joint venture of two of the world’s leading breakbulk and bulk shipping companies: Gearbulk and Grieg Star. The company operates the largest fleet of open hatch vessels worldwide, in addition to a substantial fleet of conventional bulk carriers. For further information, visit:

SOURCE: G2 Ocean


MV Singan

Swire Bulk takes Delivery of New, Log-fitted Bulk Carrier, MV Singan

May 28, 2020 - Swire Bulk, the bulk division of The China Navigation Company, has taken delivery of its new, log-fitted bulk carrier into service. MV Singan is traded worldwide with a strong focus on the logs trade in the Pacific and South Atlantic.

The vessel was named in February 2020 by lady sponsor, Mrs Kaori Imoto, the wife of John Swire & Sons Board Director, Jonathan Swire. The ceremony was held at The Hakodate Dock Co., Ltd.’s shipyard in Hakodate, Japan.

MV Singan embarked on her maiden voyage at the end of April for Busan.

According to Rob Aarvold, General Manager at Swire Bulk, the vessel is designed for optimal speed and consumption at 12.5 knots in the laden condition. The eco-efficiency additions of the Rudder Bulb, Wake fin and Pre-swirl will improve vessel hull efficiency. 

Log carriage requires a high level of structural stability, which MV Singan offers. The vessel is also installed with the latest solid state radar equipment which is integrated with ECDIS. This ensures compliance with the latest and future requirements and for system updates to be managed easily.

“Swire Bulk’s newbuilding programme will enable us to strategically deliver the largest and most eco-friendly fleet trading in the market,” Aarvold said. “We remain committed to delivering market-leading, innovative and sustainable shipping solutions to our customers with our modern eco-designed vessels.”

MV Sungkiang, MV Singan’s sister vessel, is being built at the same shipyard scheduled for delivery in June 2020.

“Having these log-fitted new buildings on water would strengthen Swire Bulk’s position in the log market. We are one of the world’s largest handy-size logger fleets, and we have the flexibility, supply and consistent technical standards to perform and deliver freight contracts safely, reliably and professionally,” Aarvold added.

About Swire Bulk

Established in 2012 as the dry bulk trading division of The China Navigation Company (CNCo), Swire Bulk operates a modern fuel-efficient fleet comprising owned, long term and short term-chartered tonnage. With a fleet size of over 150 Handysize and Supra/Ultramax/Panamax vessels and eight offices around the world, Swire Bulk is well-positioned to serve customers globally, providing them with cost-effective solutions while offering greater flexibility.

SOURCE: Swire Bulk

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