Norwegian shipowner JJ Ugland has logged better earnings for 2021 as the latest generation of the Ugland family took over.

The privately held operator of 36 bulkers, tankers, barges and offshore vessels revealed in its annual report that Ebitda was NOK 272m ($27.4m), up from NOK 85m in 2020.

Revenue grew to NOK 928m from NOK 899m in better markets.

The Grimstad company’s previous owner, Johan Jorgen Ugland, died in 2010 and the business was inherited by grandson Knut Ugland, then only 23.

His shares were placed in trust until he was 35, leaving a supervisory board to run JJ Ugland.

Ugland turned 35 last October and took control of the shares.

Chairman Jorgen Lund said: “He was well prepared to take over the helm and is now in charge of the JJ Ugland companies as an active owner.”

Ugland is officially deputy chairman. He controls 14 supramaxes and ultramaxes, an ice-breaking dry cargo carrier, two shuttle tankers, barges, a crane vessel, a product tanker, a ferry and wider dry cargo pool operations.

Lund said that, with a few exceptions, the years from 2011 to 2020 were characterised by weak bulker markets.

Taking advantage of small rises

But thanks to its experienced management team and skilled seafarers, sustainable earnings were maintained by securing charters at “very small peaks” in the market, he added.

The company has also used the down-cycle to renew and expand its fleet at competitive prices from Japanese shipbuilders.

Offshore ships have been on long-term deals at “acceptable” terms in tough markets, Lund said.

Older shuttle tankers were sold or scrapped and two modern platform supply vessels were bought.

“In 2021, the bulk shipping markets finally turned upwards with rising charter rates and ship values,” Lund said.

Strength continues

“The strong market continues in 2022, and the fundamentals indicate the market will stay strong for a while.”

He also sees positive signs and rising optimism for offshore ships.

JJ Ugland said in the report it is aiming for a mix of short and longer-term charters.

Its contracts have seen no interruptions from the war in Ukraine.