Denmark: Blue Water Shipping Presents Good Results
2012 will – irrespective of the pace of the development in the company – always be a historic year for the transport and logistics company Blue Water Shipping which celebrated its 40th anniversary. But there were plenty of other things to be happy about for the company’s staff and clients in a year with a wide range of new and exciting projects and initiatives.
Financially, 2012 was a successful year for Blue Water which succeeded in creating an overall result with a record turnover and profit. The turnover increased with 19 percent from EUR 470 million to EUR 555 million Profits before taxes increased from EUR 10.2 million to 11.4 million.
“We continue to develop Blue Water as a strong and valuable business partner for our clients by solving their transport- and logistics needs through committed, personal service and high-quality innovative solutions. And we are very proud of this year’s result which means that we set a record for both turnover and profit for the third consecutive time. The last three years, the turnover has increased by a little more than fifty percent which is quite unique”, says Kurt Skov, Blue Water’s founder and chairman of the board.
He stood for one of the landmark-events last year, as he stepped down as managing director after more than 40 years at the helm of the company. His replacement is Kim Hedegaard Sørensen who came into office on 1 December last year. He is also of course delighted with the result.
The best employees in the business
“We have once again in 2012 succeeded in growing faster than our competitors. We see this as a positive response from our clients proving that our service-oriented model with customised solutions is working. It also proves that Blue Water has some of the most qualified and dedicated employees who every day make a unique effort in servicing our clients”, says Kim Hedegaard Sørensen.
He emphasize, that it has happened in a difficult market with hard-pressed economies and companies and a declining level of activity in many industries all over the world.
“It has required extra focus for establishing the perfect business with our clients, for maintaining the relationships and for performing in a way that makes Blue Water unique. Therefore we shall always be prepared to develop our business and be adaptable in order to maintain our strong position”.
In 2012, Blue Water established new offices in Rødby, Belfast and Hamburg. This year, new locations have been added to Blue Water’s world map. Offices in Frederikshavn, Sydney, Stavanger, Marseille and Munich have opened, or are on their way – and more will follow later this year.
“We act in accordance with our strategy to be close to our clients. We know that it is of great significance for our quality and service that we have a close, personal dialogue with our clients and that we locally are able to make fast and efficient decisions together”, says Kim Hedegaard Sørensen.
Ready to invest
Denmark is a natural home market for Blue Water which holds a top 5 position. In the years to come, the company will focus on making all of Scandinavia as well as the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Iceland its home market.
“We will expand with the same principle of subsidiarity as in Denmark – with many offices and large focus on increased value creation in the entire supply chain for existing and future clients. It will be a great challenge but we are ready to invest and do en extra effort to achieve our goals”, says Kim Hedegaard Sørensen.
The Managing Director points out that Blue Water financially is in good shape which is not only expressed through turnover and profits.
“The financial report also shows that we are more skilled when it comes to profit by the synergy through closer cooperation in the organization and through a more efficient management. This happens at the same time as we spend more money on investments than ever before trying to develop the company. We must continue to improve on management through synergy and efficiency improvements but it must not be at the cost of developing the business”, says Kim Hedegaard Sørensen who also expresses satisfaction with the rise in equity.
Develop the global set-up
Blue Water is jointly owned by a foundation and Kurt Skov – the foundation has 75 and Kurt Skov has 25% of the shares. This ownership plays a determining role in the future development of Blue Water.
“We do not have the same requirements for profit as company’s listed on the stock exchange. This makes us able to work for long-term and client-oriented objectives in Blue Water. A trust ownership also means, that Blue Water can maintain its independence which is driven by our strong values. This gives security to the employees but also for our clients as they know, that it is the same Blue Water they are making business with today, tomorrow and in the future”, says Kim Hedegaard Sørensen.
As chairman of the board, Kurt Skov has chosen to play an active part where he participates in developing the business in a series of areas, so his partnership with Kim Hedegaard Sørensen is close when it comes to the future development of Blue Water.
“With more than 60 offices worldwide, Blue Water is a global company with substantial activities and network within our different areas. The coming year, we must strengthen and develop our global position with new locations and investments in new employees. This applies to all our business areas where we with offices in the most important locations can have a powerful position with our strong and operational set-up based on in-house competences”, says Kurt Skov.
Facts – events in 2012
In February, Blue Water opened the 14th office in Denmark – in Rødby on the island of Lolland – primarily to handle the activities in connection with the Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link between Denmark and Germany.
In May, we set up in Belfast – in partnership with Michael F. Ewings Shipping. Main focus is port agency and marine-related activities for the offshore wind industry.
In September, a new office was established in Hamburg, primarily focusing on transport and logistics to the wind turbine industry
On 1 August, Blue Water reached 1000 in number of staff. In the mid-eighties the number was 100 and in 2003 we were 500 employees.
With a clearance of just a few centimetres, Blue Water was the first company in history to transport a shipment (17.35 metres wide) through the Volga-Don river system. The record project to the Caspian Sea was a specially designed jack-up rig.
In December, Kurt Skov stepped down as managing director and handed over the responsibility to Kim Hedegaard Sørensen who joined Blue Water with more than 17 years of all-round and international shipping and transport experience. Kurt Skov is now executive chairman of the board.
On Saturday 1 September, Blue Water’s 40th jubilee was celebrated with a grand party in Esbjerg, where it had all started. On the same occasion, Kurt Skov celebrated his 40th anniversary. 800 employees from all over the world participated in the party. As part of the festivities, the Blue Water song “The Spirit of Blue Water” was recorded by the staff.
The company jubilee was also celebrated with clients and business relations at the headquarters on Friday 31 August. Almost 2000 Danish and international guests participated in the reception which also marked the official opening of the 10,000 m2 headquarters.
Press release, May 23, 2013; Image: bws