Blue Water improves the bottom line

The transport and logistics group delivered a satisfactory result for 2023, where the bottom line in a difficult market grew by 76 per cent to a profit of USD 21 million before tax

In 2023, the global freight market was affected by a slowdown in freight volumes, especially in sea and air freight. The declining demand contributed to a drop in rates, which in recent years have been significantly higher than normal due to capacity issues in the industry.

However, Blue Water is satisfied with the financial result for 2023, which shows a profit of USD 21 million compared to a profit of USD 12 million the year before. This is shown in the recently published financial statements for Blue Water Holding, which covers the entire Group's activities.

"We are pleased with the result for 2023, as we have delivered a solid improvement in the bottom line in a fluctuating and challenging market. The foundation is strong, and all our business areas contribute positively to the overall result. Our employees have once again demonstrated their ability to deliver effective solutions for our customers even under difficult conditions. Our service level remains very high," says Søren Nørgaard Thomsen, CEO of Blue Water.

New markets are increasing revenue

The significant decline in freight rates during 2023 has had a small impact on Blue Water's revenue - with a decrease of 3 per cent. Revenue in 2023 was USD 1,298 billion compared to USD 1,341 billion the year before. A decisive factor is increasing market shares in several parts of the business. General cargo increased for Blue Water in the second half of 2023, but revenue was particularly impacted by expansion in the Energy, Ports & Projects division, where several significant contracts were won in 2023 and new offices were established, contributing to new revenue.

"We experienced – contrary to the market – increasing freight volumes at the end of 2023. We are excited about this, however, we are also experiencing that we must work harder to retain and win customers, as the lower rates and volumes have increased competition," says Søren Nørgaard Thomsen.

A balanced growth strategy

On the employee side, Blue Water grew to just over 2,400 last year, welcoming around 500 new colleagues. Employee growth has especially occurred outside of Denmark – both in countries with existing Blue Water offices and several new office openings. The number of employees continues to grow into 2024, already passing the 2,500 milestone.

The Group's Energy, Ports & Project division has been executing a growth strategy in recent years. This has resulted in the opening of several offices, giving Blue Water a presence in even more markets, while at the same time optimising the organisation to strengthen global collaboration across the Group.

"We are continuously seeing positive results from our growth strategy. The expansion is happening at the right pace, which means that the overall balance between investments and earnings is right. We expect this positive development within the division to continue in 2024," says Søren Nørgaard Thomsen.

Positive outlook for 2024

The outlook for 2024 is a Group profit of USD 22-25 million. The result will be positively impacted by the ongoing successful implementation of the newer offices in Australia, Guyana, Türkyie and China, among others.

"In 2024, we will follow our strategy with a focus on streamlining, consolidation and profitable growth. We are also aware that the current – and new – geopolitical, financial and economic conditions may affect our activities and opportunities to serve our customers in 2024. This requires that we remain ready to act and react to the changing conditions, but I am confident that we can as it is in our DNA," says Søren Nørgaard Thomsen.