Wilhelm Holst has a warning for shipbrokers looking to merge: ensure it makes sense.

Amid the recent spate of shipbroking consolidation, the current Alpin Shipping chairman and one-time Platou executive said the parties have to be complementary.

“If you are equally strong on the same segments, it causes a lot of pain internally,” Holst told TradeWinds. “Who’s going to work that client? Who’s going to work that client? Everyone is claiming he’s a good friend, he’s a good friend.”

Holst said the recent merger of Galbraiths and Ifchor made sense, as it brought together a strong dry bulk desk and a strong tanker desk.

The combined company — Ifchor Galbraiths — now has 20 offices worldwide with approximately 300 employees.

In May, the combined brokerage snapped up Norwegian outfit Uno Offshore — a seven-person team with offices in Bergen and Haugesund.

Simpson Spence Young got in on the action as well when it acquired Norway’s Westshore Shipbrokers in February.

Holst is no stranger to consolidation in the shipbroking space. He helped build RS Platou Shipbrokers into a leading player in Norway before it was acquired by Clarksons in 2015.

He went on to serve as global head of shipping at Lorentzen & Stemoco — later Lorentzen & Co — in 2017 and would later take on the role of chief executive.

Earlier this year, he teamed up with former Lorentzen sale-and-purchase head Axel Holmen to form Alpin Shipping.

Holmen insisted it was not their goal to make the new outfit a consolidation target, despite the industry witnessing some other mergers recently.

“We’re fresh on the ground,” he said. “For us, our focus is to build a sustainable business and see if we can build it systematically up with the right people. Where do we go from there? Let’s put it this way, we strategise every Friday, what are we doing next week?

“[With] Wilhelm, with Platou’s history and having run that, we have the knowledge [about] what should we work on, what should we try and approach more — and not approach.”