Celebrating tradition and innovation: Fred. Olsen & Co. marks a momentous anniversary

In 2018, Fred. Olsen & Co. celebrates its 170th anniversary in the shipping industry. Fred. Olsen Windcarrier is proud to be part of a company with such a rich maritime heritage and to continue our founder’s tradition of innovation.

It all started in 1848 when Fredrik Christian Olsen, a young visionary with Norwegian roots, purchased his first ship. He was later joined by his two brothers, Petter and Andreas, and together they embarked on a journey that continues to this very day. The company has seen many changes in its lifetime, adapting and growing alongside widespread developments in the industry. The shipping fleet transitioned from sailing ships to steam ships in 1897 – and, in 1914, Fred. Olsen contracted Norway’s first motor ship.

Growth through opportunity

Fred. Olsen & Co. has strong historical ties with London and the Canary Islands, extending back to early 1900s. And in 1921, the company started transporting fresh fruit and vegetables from the Canary Islands to London’s Canary Wharf. In fact, it’s these shipments that gave Canary Wharf its name!

While the focus started with shipping, the company has not shied away from extending its reach into other industries. In addition to expanding within shipping through acquisitions and partnerships, Fred. Olsen related companies now work in oil, travel, renewable energy and even pension funds. 

 Commitment to renewable energy

Having first invested in wind farming in 1997, the company saw the chance to expand further in wind energy and established Fred. Olsen Windcarrier in 2008. Now serving the rapidly growing offshore wind industry, Fred. Olsen Windcarrier carries on its parent company’s maritime traditions and ambitions. 

Today, Fred. Olsen related companies within wind installation (Fred. Olsen Windcarrier, Global Wind Service and Universal Foundation) employ well over 1400 people in the wind industry – a testament to its commitment to social responsibility and the desire to make renewable energy available around the world.

A legacy lives on

Five generations on, Anette Olsen is now at the helm of the company, proudly carrying on the family tradition and embracing many of the values forged by her great-great-grandfather 170 years ago.

Join us in keeping Fredrik Christian Olsen’s legacy alive as Fred. Olsen related companies celebrate 170 years of maritime excellence. Fred. Olsen Windcarrier will be honoring our founder’s legacy by sharing interesting historical facts from the Fred. Olsen company archives through our LinkedIn page.