J. Lauritzen was initially established as a timber merchant trade in 1884,
when Ditlev Lauritzen at the age of 24, set up the company in Esbjerg, Den-
mark in his father’s name. In the following years, Ditlev Lauritzen became
one of Esbjerg’s most dynamic business men, establishing a large number
of trading and manufacturing companies.
Uganda – The first steamship purchased
Seeing opportunities in shipping Ditlev Lauritzen acquired his first steamship, Uganda, in 1888.
Due to his vast business achievements, Ditlev Lauritzen was named knight of Dannebrog and Consul of France and in the years until his death in 1935 he was mainly referred to as The Consul.
Dampskibsselskabet Vesterhavet established
The shipping focus of Ditlev Lauritzen was further strengthened with the establishment of the shipping company Dampskibsselskabet Vesterhavet in 1895.
The beginning of an era – the fruit trade
J. Lauritzen was a pioneer in the development of the reefer trades, carrying citrus from Spain to England as early as 1905. During the 1930s, J. Lauritzen expanded its reefer activities and in 1931, performed its first shipment of bananas from West Africa to France.
J. Lauritzen moves to copenhagen
Ditlev Lauritzen moves the company and his family to Copenhagen.
A history of welfare
In 1931, J. Lauritzen initiated a welfare programme, improving living standards for the crew on board its ships. As one of the first shipping companies, J. Lauritzen provided single cabins with radios for almost all their crews. Furthermore bicycles, libraries as well as a photo-development facility were made available on all vessels.
WEST COAST LINE
Another initiative J. Lauritzen took in the 1930s was the establishment of a liner service in 1933 between the two American continents. The West Coast line was inaugurated in 1934 when the steamship Jonna loaded apples, plums and onions in Valparaiso, Chile destined for New York.
THE DEATH OF THE CONSUL
Following the Consul’s death, the two sons Ivar (left) and Knud (right) Lauritzen took over the family business until their deaths in 1974 and 1978.
In 1937 the late Ditlev Lauritzen’s dream of owning a shipyard was fulfilled when J. Lauritzen acquired Aalborg Shipyard. Apart from newbuilding contracts, J. Lauritzen also placed a number of dockings, modernizations and rebuilding’s at the shipyard. In 1988 Aalborg Shipyard closed and all activities were transferred to Danyard Shipyard in Frederikshavn.
WORLD WAR II
World War II was hard on J. Lauritzen and the company lost many vessels as well as seafarers during the war. However business recovered and in the following years, the shipping activities of J. Lauritzen expanded considerably.
KOGTVED SEAMANS SCHOOL IN SVENDBORG
As education was considered an essential part of J. Lauritzen’s welfare policy, J. Lauritzen acquired Kogtved Seamans School in Svendborg in 1943. The school was ready for inauguration in 1944.
In May 1945 J. Lauritzen celebrated Dampskibsselskabet Vesterhavet’s 50th anniversary and the charity foundation JL Fondet , now called Lauritzen Foundation, was established, to ensure the future ownership of the company
J. LAURITZEN ENTERS THE TANKER BUSINESS
With the delivery of the tanker Nerma Dan in 1951, J. Lauritzen entered the tanker business. After a downturn in the market, J. Lauritzen decided to exit the tanker business in 1993. However, in 2004 Lauritzen Tankers once again became part of J. Lauritzen’s business portfolio until 2013.
The schooner Lilla Dan was built as a training ship in 1951 and has been with the company ever since. Taken out of service as a training vessel in 1996, the Lilla Dan was completely renovated and put to work as a charter ship and today it offers companies and private groups a unique meeting place in maritime surroundings
In 1952, the polar vessel Kista Dan was delivered. The ship was designed for expeditions in the Arctic and the destination for her maiden voyage was Greenland. Kista Dan was chartered to Australian National Antarctic Expedition (ANARE) to build a permanent station for Australia in the Arctic.
THE RED HULL
In order to make ships more visible in icy waters, the hull of Kista Dan was painted red in 1955 and shortly after the remaining fleet followed and were painted in the red colour that today symbols J. Lauritzen.
THE ICE-STRENGTHENED SHIPS
In February 1959, J. Lauritzen’s ice-strengthened vessel Helga Dan sailed through the ice up the St. Lawrence River in Canada and was the earliest ever ocean-going ship to reach Quebec in winter.
THE ENGAGEMENT IN DRY CARGO OCEAN TRANSPORT
J. Lauritzen entered the bulk business in 1973 with the acquisition of the bulk carrier, Silja Dan. The bulk activities have since evolved considerably and Lauritzen Bulkers is today J. Lauritzen’s largest business area. Lauritzen Bulkers specializes in the ocean transport of dry cargo, ranging from logs to grain, coal, iron etc.
J. LAURITZEN ENTERS THE OFFSHORE BUSINESS
After the entry into the offshore sector in 1973, the first jack-up drilling rig was purchased and named Maya Dan. The drilling activities developed rapidly during the 1980’s and 1990’s, but in 1996 all 12 drilling rigs were sold.
PEARL OF SCANDINAVIA
In 1981 J. Lauritzen took delivery of their first cruise ship, Tropical, later named Pearl of Scandinavia. The ship sailed in the Far East with mainly American passengers onboard.
In 1982 the first heavyweight newbuilding, Dan Mover was delivered from Japan, but J. Lauritzen’s involvement in the heavyweight business was short lived.
THE END OF THE ARCTIC VOYAGES
In 1987 the last polar vessel Nella Dan (1961) was sunk after she went aground on Macquire Island situated between New Zealand and Antarctica. This marked the end of an era for J. Lauritzen.
THE ACQUISITION OF KOSAN TANKERS
In 1989, J. Lauritzen explored yet another business area and entered the gas business with the acquisition of Kosan Tankers from the Tholstrup Group, forming Lauritzen Kosan Tankers which was later renamed Lauritzen Kosan. Today Lauritzen Kosan is a market leader within the ocean transport of liquefied gasses.
THE ACQUISITION OF COOL CARRIERS
After having acquired the competing reefer company Cool Carriers in 2001, Lauritzen Reefers became Lauritzen Cool. In 2005 J. Lauritzen sold 50% of its reefer activities to NYK of Japan and in 2007, NYK acquired the remaining 50 % of J. Lauritzen’s reefer activities.
RE-ENTERING THE OFFSHORE BUSINESS
In 2007 the conversion of the Dan Swift – originally a RoRo ship – to a dynamically positioned Accommodation and Support Vessel began, marking the re-entering into the offshore business. In 2008 Lauritzen Offshore was established as an independent business and after extensive reconstruction at the shipyard Blohm & Voss in Germany, the Dan Swift was delivered in 2009.
INNOVATIVE SHIP DESIGN
In 2008 Lauritzen Kosan received Lloyd’s List’s top award for engineering and environmental innovation when the Isabella Kosan was awarded Ship of the Year. The design of the Isabella Kosan and her sister ships incorporates many technical and environmental innovations, such as the ability to capture and utilise gas vapours that would ordinarily be released into the atmosphere
125 YEARS OF OCEAN TRANSPORT
J. Lauritzen celebrated 125 years of ocean transport in May 2009.
Lauritzen Tankers was in 2010 a founding partner in Hafnia Management A/S, fulfilling the strategic aim of placing the product tanker activities in a partnership with greater market penetration.
LAURITZEN OFFSHORE INCREASES SHUTTLE TANKER OPERATIONS
In 2011, Lauritzen Offshore took delivery of Dan Cisne, the first of two identical purpose-built shuttle tankers from Cosco Nantong shipyard in China. The shuttle tanker newbuilding features state-of-the-art design and dynamic positioning technology.
BULK SHIP OPERATOR OF THE YEAR
Lauritzen Bulkers received the “Bulk ship operator of the year” award at the International Bulk Journal’s "IBJ Awards 2011".
In 2012, J. Lauritzen established a joint venture company, Axis Offshore, with the Norwegian private equity investor HitecVision. Axis Offshore is a provider of high specification flotels servicing the offshore oil & gas industry.
J. Lauritzen decided to sell its fleet of wholly-owned product tankers to Hafnia Tankers and at the same time acquired a minor shareholding in Hafnia Tankers.
SALE OF SHUTTLE TANKERS
In 2014 J. Lauritzen sold its fleet of shuttle tankers to Knutsen NYK Offshore Tankers (KNOT).
SALE OF SHAREHOLDINGS
Early 2016 it was decided to transfer J. Lauritzen’s shareholdings in Axis Offshore Pte. Ltd. and Hafnia Tankers Ltd. to LF Investment Aps, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lauritzen Fonden.