Shipping companies Frontline and Golden Ocean Group Limited have entered into a non-binding term sheet agreement with multinational commodity trading company Trafigura Group to set up a global bunker supplier joint venture. Frontline and Golden Ocean are to acquire 15% and 10% interests in the JV, respectively and Trafigura will contribute its existing physical bunkering activities.
Subject to agreement on final terms, the JV was expected to commence operations in the third quarter of 2019, and to act as the exclusive purchaser of marine fuels for Trafigura, Frontline and Golden Ocean, as well as certain entities affiliated with Hemen Holding, Frontline and Golden Ocean’s largest shareholder.
Robert Hvide Macleod, CEO of Frontline Management and Birgitte Ringstad Vartdal, CEO of Golden Ocean Management said in a joint statement: “It is anticipated that IMO 2020 will create logistical marine fuel supply issues for shipowners globally. In addition to presenting a compelling economic opportunity, our participation in the JV will ensure our ability to source and acquire marine fuels at competitive prices on a continuous basis. This transaction represents yet another instance where we have been able to leverage our relationship with other entities of Hemen Holding Ltd to create significant economies of scale and a real competitive advantage. We look forward to working with Trafigura, our JV partner, to create one of the world’s leading suppliers of marine fuels.”
Jeremy Weir, Trafigura’s Executive Chairman and CEO, commented that the JV represented “a further progression in the development of Trafigura’s response to the challenges and opportunities the impending IMO 2020 regulation will present.”
Kenneth Dam, Trafigura’s Co-Head of Bunkering added: “Over the past 24 months, Trafigura has been growing its physical bunkering business worldwide. We believe that marine fuel market disruptions will be brought on by the implementation of IMO 2020 regulations and that the JV’s increased base volumes and greater access to both infrastructure and credit will provide increasingly competitive bunkering supply services to our customers. We are confident in our ability to supply quality products at competitive prices to the fleets controlled by the JV partners as well as to third party shipowners and operators.”
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