Norden is expanding again and targeting the general cargo, breakbulk and wind installation markets with the acquisition of specialist parcel operator Thorco Projects.

Thorco Projects operates a chartered-in fleet of 30 to 40 multipurpose (MPP) and handysize vessels that Norden said will complement its existing fleet.

Jan Rindbo, chief executive of Norden, said: “With the tonnage and business tools we have available in Norden, we see significant potential to further grow the Thorco Projects business under the Norden brand.”

Norden said it sees potential in combining Thorco Projects’ front-haul routes and Norden’s back-haul routes, “creating the opportunity for trading route optimisation, which also will reduce supply chain emissions for customers”.

Norden said the deal will expand its offering to customers within specialist general cargo segments such as breakbulk, steel and wind energy-related cargoes, which typically involving parcelling multiple cargoes for different customers in single shipments on multipurpose and handysize ships.

Using bulk carriers for dry cargoes on front-haul voyages and for project cargoes on back-hauls is a technique being deployed by other players in geared-vessel markets, Swire Bulk and Swire Projects being one of them.

Thomas Mikkelsen, chief executive of Thorco Projects, said: “We look forward to developing our cooperation with our customers, both current and future. We also welcome this opportunity to grow our collaboration with Norden, who we believe can further strengthen and grow the projects business.”

Thorco Projects’ 40 employees operates out of offices in Copenhagen, Singapore, Shanghai, Rio de Janeiro and Bremen.

The company was established in 2003 by father and son Thor and Christian Stadil, and it is part of Denmark’s Thornico group.

It does not own any vessels and has focused on being an asset-light operator since 2021.

Norden said completion of the deal is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to close next quarter.

The owner-operator has been taking strides this year to expand into new areas, including returning to the capesize segment for the first time since 2016. It has bought four capesize bulk carriers in 2023 so far.