Japan's Weathernews expands in Europe

The Japanese supplier of weather forecasts and route planning for ships, Weathernews, has in three years grown from two to 15 employees at the office in Copenhagen, where the company has become one of the two biggest suppliers to shipping in Europe.

Things have gone fast for Weathernews since the Japanese company opened an office in Copenhagen in 2012 with an agenda aimed at European business. The company, which supplies weather forecasts for various industries, but which in Europe focuses exclusively on supplying weather forecasts and route planning for carriers and shipping companies, has experienced a rapid growth.

The numbers are clear. First of all, the number of employees has grown from two in 2012 to 15 this year, of which seven employees work with selling the company's products and the other eight are sitting in a recently established operational center. This is the center where weather forecasts and vessel route planning are performed. Weathernews has similar centers in Asia and the US, and starting this week the operational center in Denmark will increase its global coverage.

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Secondly, Weathernews has managed to land many of Denmark's largest carriers as customers during the past three years. And third, the company has fought its way into the elite of similar companies throughout Europe, competing against players such as AWT - Applied Weather Technologies, Inc.

"Things are going quite well. We specifically opted to place this office in Denmark, and there was a reason for that - namely that this is where the shipping industry is. Our goal was to secure a solid customer base in Europe, and we've done a good job in this regard, both in terms of landing Danish shipping companies as customers, but also on a broader level in Europe, where Swiss companies, for instance, have a shown a lot of interest," Thomas Skov, Executive Officer, Sales & Marketing, for the Europe office, tells ShippingWatch.

Looking to sell to other industries than shipping

He explains that the shipping industry is familiar with Weathernews due to the company's work in Asia and the US, but that it has been a tough task to remain among the two biggest companies in Europe. However, this has not intimidated Weathernews Europe, which will in time aim to sell weather forecasts to not only the shipping industry, but to other industries as well, for instance aviation.

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"It's taken time and energy to secure our position, as there's more and more free competition among the weather service companies. I think that we're especially able to differentiate ourselves from our competitors in terms innovation, which is one of our strengths," says Thomas Skov.

This growth will continue at close to the same pace in the coming years, where Thomas Skov expects that the company will reach 25 employees within the next two years.

"By opening this operational center we'll get even closer to our customers, and some of the customers who have wanted to use us in the past will now see a brand new opportunity to use our services. We've been working to build a strong customer base that will have a positive effect on those who have yet to sign up as customers, and as such I'm confident that we'll be able to grow as we'd like to," says Thomas Skov.

Weathernews does not state specifically in its results how much of the profit stems from shipping services. In the last fiscal year, the company as a whole achieved a revenue of USD 110.9 million and a USD 15 million profit.

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