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CEO's Column - NORDEN News Magazine Spring 2011

Long-term growth in an uncertain world

We rounded 2010 off in good fashion. After years of ground swells, organisational trimming and adjustments, we were once again back on the growth track. We increased our revenue by 25% to USD 2.2 billion and nearly doubled our operating profit to USD 240 million.

We are now ready to look to the future and have updated our business strategy with a plan for 2011-2013. We have named the plan “Long-term Growth in Challenging Markets”, and it focuses on navigating the Company safely through uncertain markets.

And looking at the first months of 2011, the world has indeed proven to be quite unpredictable. Climatic and political events have prompted a global domino effect which will have both indirect and direct consequences for the shipping industry. Queensland suffered massive flooding which closed down mines, railways and ports. The Jasmine Revolution broke out in Tunisia and spread throughout the Arabic world on the North African continent. The consequences here being increases in oil prices and changed trading patterns. Japan, a country which NORDEN is closely associated with and has been for the last 134 years, was hit by earthquakes and tsunamis resulting in great destruction throughout the north-eastern part of the country and in the spreading of insecurity around the nuclear power plants in Fukushima.

The piracy situation off the coast of Somalia and in the Indian Ocean has become more critical. This means that we, the shipping companies, in certain situations and in addition to costly safety precautions, are now also forced to employ guards on board our vessels to protect crew, vessel and cargo. The international community cannot let 800 innocent seafarers be held hostage by Somalian criminals. The pirates’ mother vessels must immediately be stopped so that the problem does not escalate any further.

It is difficult not to dwell on these issues, and the international community more than clearly stresses the need for a focused strategy where we keep eyes and ears open and are ready to handle both possibilities and challenges. I can promise you that NORDEN has its GPS set for growth, and that we are more than well equipped for whatever challenges and possibilities the markets may offer us in 2011. 

CARSTEN MORTENSEN

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