New Torvald Klaveness chief executive Ernst Meyer is settling into his seat on Friday with plans to develop and grow the business platform handed over to him by long-serving predecessor Lasse Kristoffersen.

The Norwegian bulker, combination carrier and technology group’s former chief operations officer and ship management supremo told TradeWinds that all options are on the table for the future.

Meyer is thrilled to take the top job. When offered the role,“there was no hesitation, but I had to think it through”.

He explained that it was not a sudden decision by the board, but more an evolution: “I was not taken aside and given the offer on the spot. We kind of explored the opportunity together with the chairman and so we talked ourselves into it, I think!

“I’m excited. We are living in times that are very, very special.”

Meyer argues that shipping companies have an important role in ensuring that global supply chains work for everyone, and the Klaveness strategy is “firm” on this.

The aim is to create business on the back of making the supply chains resilient, decarbonised and cost-efficient.

Freedom to invest

“Every idea we conceive and execute is on the back of that strategy,” Meyer added.

“We will look for growth and development. After we sold all the container vessels last year, we have achieved some freedom to invest in new things.”

The plan is to work on more industrial strategies.

“At the moment, we have no plans to expand into any particular segment, but it’s not off the table either. We keep that open,” Meyer told TradeWinds.

Right now, newbuilding prices are extreme, he said, but some of spin-off Klaveness Combination Carriers’ Cabu caustic soda and bulk ships are getting old.

Timing is everything

Former Klaveness CEO Lasse Kristoffersen has taken over at Walenius Wilhlemsen. Photo: Wallenius Wilhelmsen

“We would be interested in renewing the combi fleet. It’s a very good trade to be in and so we would like to keep that up and at least maintain the size of the fleet,” he said.

“We would like to build new vessels, but it’s a matter of timing.”

Former chief executive Kristoffersen left after 15 years with the company to take over at car carrier giant Wallenius Wilhelmsen.

His successor plans to build on his achievements.

Meyer has 26 years of experience in shipping, 21 of those at class society DNV, and comes from a marine engineering background.

Continuity is important

“My contributions will be to drive the strategy and new initiatives and create new things,” he told TradeWinds.

“I came from the inside. Lasse has been my boss for the last three years and it’s been a very long handover in that sense. Of course, it was not planned!”

The new boss believes the continuity is beneficial for him and Klaveness.

“There are so many good things in the company that it would be very strange to change. It’s very much a matter of building on what we already have.”

With bulker rates strong, he added: “At the moment we have a market that works for us.”