Wilh. Wilhelmsen Company history


Company's history started in 1861 in a small tiny town of Tonsberg, where Morten Wilhelm Wilhelmsen organized his own firm Wilh. Wilhelmsen. There were many intermediary headquarters and stops before at last the company settled in modern premises in Oslo. Its office has been situated there to present days.


However, let us revert to those days, when the formation of such a famous today organization started. Only in four years after its foundation, the company was able to purchase its first bark Mathilde. Exactly this bark initiated the development and replenishment of Wilh. Wilhelmsen fleet.

The first steam ship "Talabot" was purchased in 1887. There were 7 of them in the company. The name of the ship was such a great success that soon almost all the ships, owned by the company, had names beginning with letter "T". Later steam ships were replaced with more modern cargo liners. Wilh. Wilhelmsen was a pioneer in the operation of cargo liners in Norway.

As a matter of fact the company had been a line operator. Though, soon tankers came into the picture. With their advent Wilh. Wilhelmsen became a major marine transporter of oil.

During the Second World War the company suffered fleet lost of 26 ships and 52 men's lives. But not everything was a sadness. Many ships came through the war well and some of them did Transpacific trooping from America to Far East.

The long term strategy had been laid down in late sixties. Now the company stakes on roll-on roll-off vessels. Thus, 1972 was marked as the year of the beginning of a new era – the era of ro-ro vessels. On the line side Wilh. Wilhelmsen entered a joint venture with Swedish Wallenius Line in order to get the combined size to really and truly become a global carrier of cars and ro-ro cargoes.
One of the leading with the fleet of 70 vessels and line network covering all the main trading areas, Wallenius Wilhelmsen is also engaged in inland transportation and logistic services.
Wilh. Wilhelmsen also has a leading position within ship management – technical management and crewing of more than 260 vessels.

In present time the company represents the whole row of 100% owned subsidiaries in other branches of shipping. A peculiar sketch of the company's structure is presented at the end of this page, where Whil. Whilhelmsen consolidates subsidiaries aimed to fulfil combined solutions in marine transport. Such subsidiaries as Unitor, Barwil, Barber Ship Management are well-known all over the world. Company's participation in joint projects like Doсkwise Heavy-Llift Ttransport, Wallenius Lines, American Roll-on-Roll-off Carrier, Eukor Carriers, EOT (Express Offshore Transport), Glovis, Sea Launch Logistics and others considerably broadens the sphere of company's activities as well as its position on the marine transport service market.

Today's President of the company Wilhelm Wilhelmsen, the representative of the fourth generation of Wilhelnmsen family, makes the company's aim to become more of a people company. In numerous shipping agencies with the total amount of 385 offices in 71 countries more than 21,000 people work, and 2005 year's revenue made up of 817 million USD.

Working together, building a global team, linking traditions with new solutions these are the basic principles of Wilh. Wilhelmsen company.