2016 was the best year ever for the Port of Aalborg group, which includes Aalborg Havn Logistik A/S, Aalborg Havn Areal A/S, NTC Ejendom A/S, Grønlandshavnens Ejendomme A/S and Port of Aalborg Tankstore ApS.

Turnover increased from just over DKK 150 million in 2015, which held the previous record, to almost DKK 200 million in 2016. At DKK 26.5 million after tax, the profit is just below the level for 2015.

At the same time, the Port of Aalborg group has invested more than DKK 200 million in property, plant and equipment to ensure that Port of Aalborg will be a logistics hub for the benefit of the entire region in the future, too.

In addition to breaking the record for turnover, Port of Aalborg has taken a number of green initiatives and can now call itself Denmark's first carbon-neutral port.

Both management and the board of directors are well satisfied with the port’s development:

- Port of Aalborg’s goal is continual growth – both in size and in effect. Port of Aalborg is a significant driver for the Municipality of Aalborg and for development and job growth in all of North Jutland. For this reason, we continually ensure that the over 100 companies located at the port have the very best conditions for running their business. We’ve made significant investments in infrastructure and subsidiaries. These equip us for tomorrow’s port operations and have already met or exceeded our expectations for return on investment. The profit for the year shows that our strategy for The Intelligent Port has been highly successful, and we’re looking forward to a new year with well-founded pleasure and expectation, says Thomas Kastrup-Larsen, Mayor of Aalborg and chairman of the board of Aalborg Havn A/S.

Popular freight line
Among other things, Port of Aalborg has invested heavily in the railway, which was well established in 2016: The Port of Aalborg group reached a total of 27 trains carrying Cembrit roof panels, with 531 filled wagons coming in and 67 going out. 2016 was also the year in which the port entered into an agreement with DB Cargo for two weekly trains to and from Aalborg, enabling companies to ship goods to Europe less expensively, with more flexibility and in a way that is better for the environment.

- We’re seeing great interest in the freight line from the business sector, since it provides numerous environmental and financial benefits. One of our responses to this is our investment in a new multi-terminal with more space for storage. We’ve also invested in renovation and expansion of the rail network to handle more operators simultaneously, says Thomas Kastrup-Larsen.

Growth in the container business
Despite a general decline in the global market, the container business has shown a healthy overall growth of 10.3%. This positive trend is attributed to the feeder routes which, in 2016, posted a growth of 44.4%, equivalent to 5,323 TEU. This growth primarily comes from the new Hamburg route, with CMA CGM as the driving force, and from the start-up of two new shipping companies, OOCL and Maersk Line.

Aalborg Havn A/S is pleased with the growth of the feeder route, not least because this is a growth area of high priority.

- We have plans for a new and larger container terminal, since everything indicates that the volume of containers will increase. The future of Danish container ports will be determined by the development of feeder connections to and from principal ports such as Hamburg, Bremerhaven, Antwerpen, Rotterdam and Amsterdam. In the future, it will only make sense for the gigantic ocean-going ships to sail between the major continental ports and to allow feeder traffic to handle smaller-scale distribution, says Thomas Kastrup-Larsen.

2016 was also the year in which most wind turbine blades were shipped from the port – 748 in all, which is significantly more than in 2015.

‘This is due to an increase in production of offshore turbine blades and, not least, our good collaboration with the relevant parties to ship blades which previously were transported via the road network to other ports,’ says Thomas Kastrup-Larsen.

Generally speaking, the Port of Aalborg group maintains the 2015 level of cargo turnover in 2016. A total of 2.9 million tonnes of cargo were loaded and offloaded last year, compared with 2.95 million tonnes in 2015.

Profit is turned into investments
Port of Aalborg regularly spends its profits on new growth-oriented investments. Numerous other investment projects receive a mention in Port of Aalborg’s annual report, and the port will also be investing heavily in the future in 2017:

- A healthy balance between earnings and investment is important to us. Earnings give us freedom and capacity to act, and investments help us meet our goal to increase our activity level and support the region’s growth, says Thomas Kastrup-Larsen.

Well over 100 companies and around 10,000 jobs either directly or indirectly depend on Port of Aalborg’s development.

Positive expectations for 2017
Port of Aalborg will continue its ambitious investment strategy in 2017 and beyond. The group has an investment budget of no less than DKK 500 million for the coming years, and one of the triggers is the start-up of the widening of Tranholmvej from two to four lanes.

Port of Aalborg expects an increase in turnover again in 2017 and a profit of between DKK 30 and 40 million before tax.