LOCAL RIVAL OFFERS A HAND AT LANGELINIE PAVILION
Today, with more than 1,700 trailers, Ancotrans specializes in transporting shipping containers. But it hasn’t always been like this…
In 1956, the modern container set out on its maiden voyage. After that, things changed fast. The world’s first dedicated container harbour opened in New Jersey in 1962. And by 1974, A.P. Møller-Mærsk had established the first container shipping route between Europe and the Far East, despite the fact that for years, the company’s leadership had believed the future lay in palettes, not containers.
Ancotrans kept an eye on the situation from their base in Frihaven. As they saw it, the future would be in containers. But the first container jobs were yet to come to Copenhagen, so there were not enough resources to make the huge investment required to buy the necessary chassis. Playing a waiting game, however, was not without risk.
At that time, Scandinavian Tobacco was one of Ancotrans’ biggest customers. The company was shipping raw materials in from tobacco plantations oversees – mostly from the USA. It was just a question of time before such a far-sighted company would see the advantages of using containers. Ancotrans realized that they had to be well-prepared for the moment Scandinavian Tobacco adopted containers. And it looked like it could be any time soon.
Ancotrans were not the only company in Copenhagen keeping an eye on developments. Rival transport company Th. Pedersen & Søn also lacked the finances to invest in the necessary chassis. So, they invited Ancotrans to lunch at the well-known Langelinie Pavilion, close to the famous statue of the Little Mermaid. There the two rival companies agreed to club together and buy eight chassis.
It turned out to be a landmark agreement for Ancotrans, which soon led to new jobs. But, ironically enough, several years went by before Scandinavian Tobacco finally adopted shipping containers.
For Ancotrans, the timing was spot on. Shipping containers quickly became the standard mode of shipping goods, and Ancotrans was already well-placed to meet the new demand. Today, containers make up 90% of all shipping. That means 700 million TEUs come in and out of the world’s container terminals every day. And of those 700 million, Ancotrans transports around 1,300 a day by road.
Henrik Steenbjerg celebrated his 50-year work anniversary at
Ancotrans on 15 June 2019. Join us on a journey back to 1969, when a
22-year-old Henrik joined the family business – the fourth generation to
do so. And hear how Ancotrans developed to 2003, when the next
generation assumed leadership of the company. This is the first of four
retrospectives in celebration of Henrik’s 50th anniversary.