Graakjaer’s ambitions in Norway: ‘We anticipate 3-5 projects a year’

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The Danish construction company, Graakjaer, is really starting to gain a foothold in Norway.

Managing Director of Graakjaer, Jan Larsen, told SalmonBusiness these are very busy times for the company. Not only in Denmark, but also in Norway, where they are building a land-based salmon farm for the Norwegian company Fredrikstad Seafood.

“We are now building in Fredrikstad, after some problems with the basic work. We have many projects in the pipeline right now in Norway and anticipate 3-5 projects a year,” he says to SalmonBusiness.

Recently, the company entered into an agreement with the Norwegian Bergen-based company Salmo Terra, for construction of fish farms with recycling technology for salmon farming.

Collaborates with Norwegian companies
After over 15 years of activity in Norway through the Danish parent company Graakjaer, last year the group decided to set up a limited company (Ltd.) in Norway.

“We have already started to be a Norwegian company and our salesmen are Norwegian. We are also working on a project management organization to be ready by January 2018. We work with Norwegian companies in connection with projects in Norway, so we use a local labor force, “says Larsen.

While Norway has not yet established a land-based salmon farm, Denmark has long been at the forefront. Recently, the country’s third facility of this type was opened.

“Why is Denmark at the forefront of such land-based fish farms?”

“I think the reason is that we have many years of experience in puri water and building recirculation facilities, because we have specialist knowledge in Denmark.

Learned a lot about the aquaculture industry
Five years ago, Graakjaer entered the aquaculture industry through the first slaughterhouse in Hirtshals, Denmark.

Jan Larsen believes that the company has achieved significant knowledge of the industry over these years.

“We have gleaned great ‘know-how’ in the five years, and may be one of the few companies that have built seven fish-farming facilities in total.

He thinks there is one thing that can be improved.

“It has been a tradition that the builder himself hires craftsmen and is responsible for the whole process. However, that has proved to be a giant risk to the builder both economically and in regard to time. So we think there is a future in developing the business area within land-based fish farming,” he says.

But he also believes Graakjaer has benefited from understanding the farming industry as a whole.

“We have also learned that it is important that we possess know how within farming of fish, water purification and of course building construction. All of these skills Graakjaer possesses today.”

In the Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten, Larsen revealed that he knew about at least ten fishing facilities on the drawing board in Denmark. But he does not want to go into details.

“I can only say that it is primarily about fish farming and I do not want to name customers,” concludes Larsen.