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From local haulier to international logistics company

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The story of Frode Laursen is the classic tale of a shrewd businessman whose business acumen, hard work and considerable drive created the foundation for the international logistics company we know today.


Back in 1948, Frode Laursen started his haulage business with a single truck. Slowly but steadily, the business grew, and by the mid-1960s Frode Laursen had 16 employees and 13 vehicles.

The foundation for one of Frode Laursen’s biggest business areas today – FMCG – was laid in the early 1970s when the company started transporting goods for the supermarket group Dansk Supermarked and the ice cream producer Frisko. At the same time, Frode established its first warehouses where customers share the storage space.

By the end of the 1970s, Frode Laursen had grown into a large haulage business with annual revenues of approx. DKK 100 million, but it was also on the verge of entering a challenging period with falling haulage rates and a somewhat more difficult transport market.

Matters were not made easier by the sudden death of Frode Laursen in 1980, after which his son Niels took over the ownership and management of the company. During the 1980s, the problems with falling prices, losses and increased competition escalated, and in 1988 Niels Laursen brought Thorkil Andersen on board as a co-owner of the company. The following year, Thorkil Andersen acquired all the shares in the company.

 

From local to international

Thorkil Andersen is the son of a haulier, has driven Danish exports, and was employed as a holiday relief driver at Frode Laursen while studying at Aarhus School of Business. After completing his studies, he was employed in the company from 1984 to 1986, working with operations and finance. After that, he worked as a business consultant for a couple of years, but returned to Frode Laursen when he was offered a stake in the company.

At the time of becoming sole owner in 1989, Thorkil took over a company that had been brought to its knees, and he immediately started to pull the business back into shape. The rescue plan was called ‘focusing and streamlining’, and Thorkil started by reducing the truck fleet from 270 to 60 vehicles and the number of employees from 185 to 168. After that, the company shifted all its focus to the distribution of FMCGs, warehouse operations and international transport.

The strategy paid off. In just a year, a loss was transformed into a profit – and Frode Laursen has returned a profit each year ever since. With Thorkil at the wheel, the company set a forward-looking course, and in the 1990s developed from being a local haulage company into one offering its customers international 3PL solutions: from factory to warehouse to shop.

 

Logistics throughout the Nordic region

In 2005, Frode Laursen opened its first new logistics centre outside Denmark, in Angered near Gothenburg in Sweden. A few years later, another logistics centre was built in Åstorp near Helsingborg in Sweden, and the subsidiary FL Polska was established in Poland to handle international transport assignments.

However, the establishment of the Polish company caused some upset because the Danish drivers were concerned about losing their jobs. Yet Frode Laursen felt that this was a necessary step in order to be able to compete with foreign companies for the international jobs, and it subsequently proved to be the right course of action as there was enough work for both the Danish and Polish drivers in the company.

In 2010, Frode Laursen established operations south of the Danish border in Germany. Nielsen & Sørensen in Flensburg was acquired, and with it not only a warehouse and 200 jobs, but also a leading position within recycling. Frode Laursen’s latest expansion took place in 2018 with the opening of a 27,000-square-metre warehouse just outside Helsinki in Finland.

While expanding its business geographically, Frode Laursen was also bolstering its core business through the acquisition or co-ownership of other companies. In 2000, it acquired the field insights and marketing company IN-STORE, and the following year acquired a 50% stake in Skanol, which specialises in the transportation of dangerous goods. Finally, Frode Laursen became a co-owner of Agri-Norcold’s cold stores in 2012.

In 2020, Frode Laursen has approx. 600,000 square metres of logistics facilities, more than 700 vehicles and about 2,200 employees in Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Germany and Poland.

 

2,240
Employees
5
Countries
1,750
Trailers
600,000
Sqm. storage space
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