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Our Story

The Astrup Fearnley group represents over a century of history, growth and excellence in the area of shipping services. This fascinating legacy is a success story created by generation after generation of the Astrup Fearnley family. We believe it is a story worth telling. 

Fearnleys traces its history back to the year 1869 when its founder, Thomas Fearnley, established a shipbroking and agency business in Christiania, as the city of Oslo was known in those days. The little company soon prospered and engaged in, among others, the trade in lumber, wine, pitch and ice.

In connection with its trading activities the company bought shares in vessels and chartered vessels. Although the company began by chartering sailing vessels, by 1880 the age of the steamship had clearly begun. By 1881 the partnership of Fearnley & Eger established the Christiania Steamship Company which contracted two newbuildings at the the Kockums Shipyard in Malmø, the 1235 deadweight ‘Oslo’ and the 1215 deadweight ‘Bygdøy’. By the end of the 1880s the company had contracted a further six units. In the beginning of the 1900s Fearnley & Eger became, more or less, a shipowning company and invested in ever larger units. The company engaged in both liner and tramp activities and survived the two world wars. In addition to these shipowning activities, the firm continued to engage in developing its skills in the area of shipping services and was engaged primarily in the area of dry cargo shipbroking. As the tanker industry started to develop at the beginning of the 20th century, Fearnleys became enthusiastically involved in this new field of endeavour. Later on, when the transportation of gas by sea became an important area of commerce, Fearnleys developed a broking department which specialized in this new commodity. All in all, the history of the company has been closely focused on the concept of innovation; whenever new ideas and new industries developed which required seaborne transportation, Fearnleys was quickly on the scene.

As the 20th century progressed, the need for brokerage services for the transportation industry became so great that Fearnleys began to develop these (along with related ancillary services) as its principal business area. Always on the cutting edge of new trends, the company became involved in car carrier transportation in the 1960s, offshore and rig broking in the 1970s, coinciding with the onset of the development of the Norwegian continental shelf offshore oil fields, and energy trading and financial services in the 1980s. Fearnleys was also a pioneer in the development of transportation industry research and consultancy services, and has been involved in monitoring and analysing shipping markets since the early 1960s when Fearnresearch was first established. Now at the dawn of the 21st century the little company which started in Christiania in 1869 is firmly established in every corner of the world and assumes a global perspective on transportation much to the benefit of its worldwide customer base.