On 22 February, The King and Queen of Norway visited Australia and met with the Prime Minister Tony Abbot at the Parliament House in Canberra. They spent the next few days seeing sites and meeting Australian dignitaries and citizens.
The Norwegian Embassy held a reception and exhibition for Their Majesties later on in the week. King Harald V and Queen Sonja attended a reception at the Museum of Contemporary Art attended by members from WWL’s team, Chairman of Oceania Rob Lord and Head of Oceania Mark Guscott, and many distinguished guests from across the country.
"I've been looking forward to this visit for a long time,” says King Harald, 78, of the trip. “Forty years.”
A few days later WWL hosted the royal couple on board the M/V Tugela, docked in Fremantle, Western Australia. They arrived via motorcade escorted by local police and made their way to the top deck of the vessel. There were approximately 40 guests on board, including members of the Australian and Norwegian Government, University Representatives and members of the Media.
"The team at WWL were honoured to have their Majesties King Harald V and Queen Sonja and other delegates visit the Tugela vessel during their first Australian state visit,” says Lord. “This was a great opportunity for WWL to showcase our capabilities, while demonstrating the importance of the Norwegian and Australian relationship.”
Factbox: M/V Tugela
The Large Car and Truck Carrier M/V Tugela is designed for worldwide transportation of rolling cargoes, including cars, construction and agriculture equipment, as well as breakbulk cargo. The main and auxiliary engines comply with reduced emission limits stipulated by IMO Tier II.
Capacity: 7880 car equivalent units
Length: 230 metres
Gross tonnage: 72,295
Built: in 2011 by Hyundai Heavy Industries
No. of decks: 13 decks with 5 being hoistable
Ramp capacity: 320 tons
A lasting connection
Around 120 years have passed since a Wilhemsen ship first visited Australian shores. And while the world has since changed dramatically, the country and company continue to work closely together.
- Wilhelmsen’s relationship with Australia, which has proven so important to the firm and to Australia’s international trade, begins with the first Wilhelmsen ship to visit Australian ports – the steamer S.S. Tiger in 1895.
- The Norwegian Australia Liner Agency (NAAL) was established in 1918, and was primarily based on exports from Scandinavia. The Australian line operated two services, one via South Africa and one via Suez Canal and Java. In 1923, the company had 11 voyages from Europe to Australia.
- In 1925 the company took delivery of three more high-speed vessels to take a larger part in the prestigious wool trade from Australia to Europe. Other products going northbound included flour, sugar, fruit and copra.
- The first office in Australia was opened in 1926, and NAAL was renamed Wilh. Wilhelmsen Agency Pty Ltd.
- After World War II, a new building programme of 20 ships started to compensate for the loss of 26 ships during the war. The first delivery, Thermopylae, was the first in the Australian line to offer refrigerated cargo space.
- In the 1970s the RoRo concept was developed, and Wilhelmsen started a RoRo service to Australia.
- From 1978, the entire Europe-Australia/New Zealand network was reorganized under the title “ScanCarriers”, with a fleet of seven RoRo vessels to undertake 27-28 round voyages to Australia per year.
- In 2014, 280,000 units were imported to and over 6,700 units exported from Oceania.
- There were over 380 port calls across Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia and French Polynesia, including inducement calls, in 2014.
- WWL employs more than 170 staff members in Australia.
- The WWL head office is located in Melbourne, and there are sales offices in Sydney, Brisbane, Fremantle and Auckland.
- Australian automaker Holden’s automotive production will cease in Australia in 2017, as will Ford’s in 2016. Nevertheless, the overall demand for cars should continue to increase in the future.
- This will naturally mean an increase in demand for imported vehicles to meet the demands of consumers in Australia, leading to an increased reliance on deep sea shipping services to Australia.
- Development of Port of Melbourne’s Webb Dock West by WWL’s MIRRAT, due to be completed in 2018, will support increased imported vehicles and provide users enhanced services and opportunities.