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Guardian to expand dry bulk shipping pool with Mitsubishi, Lars T Ugland on board

Singapore — Dry bulk pool operator TBS Ocean Logistics has been renamed Guardian Navigation effective May 18 with Japan's Mitsubishi Corp. and Norwegian Lars T Ugland coming in as investors, and the new strategic investment would help expand its pool fleet and cargo platform, the company said in a statement late Friday.

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"Guardian has zero debt and is now bigger and better capitalized," Guardian Navigation CFO Urs M Dur told S&P Global Platts over phone from New York late Monday. He added that the company did not own any ships and was purely a commercial and technical management company.

Dur said the company is operating 25-30 vessels across Ultramaxes, Supramaxes and Handysizes at any point of time as two pools -- one comprising Ultramaxes and Supramaxes and the other comprising the Handysizes -- while showing a single commercial face to the market.

The former TBS was owned by a multi-billion dollar hedge fund, Candlewood Investment Group, since coming out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2012. The company declined to provide a breakdown of the new shareholding structure in Guardian Navigation.

The pool management business was started in 2014. TBS in 2015 teamed up with Heidmar to launch a dry bulk pool alliance.

"The new Guardian name reflects not only our vision for the future but also our commitment to our cargo clients, shipowner clients, financiers for the shipowner, crews, and the environment," the company said, adding that the principal office would be maintained in Scarsdale, New York.

Mitsubishi is a Japanese conglomerate with over 200 offices and subsidiaries in some 90 countries.

Lars T Ugland has over 40 years of experience in shipping and has more recently been focusing on the Supramax segment.

--Shriram Sivaramakrishnan,
--Edited by Irene Tang,