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Stema Shipping A/S supplies an increasing number of granite rock construction projects across the globe and is investing in the future of the company. A future that the Port of Grenaa has now become a part of.

“If we want to remain competitive in terms of quality, safety and price in the future, we must be able to deliver the whole package. And we can do so because our strategy has always been to ensure the future of our competitiveness.”

Rolf Bonnichsen, CEO of Stema Shipping A/S Denmark, tells enthusiastically about his commitment to ensuring that Stema Shipping A/S holds a strong position in the market. The company in Aabenraa supplies granite for rail track ballast and for the production of, for example, asphalt and concrete for road building and construction projects, primarily in Northern Europe. Stema Shipping A/S ranks among the very first suppliers in the field.

From a bright office in the port's administration building with a panoramic view of the Port of Grenaa, Rolf Bonnichsen explains:

“Historically, the industry has consisted of merchants who just bought and sold granite, but we believe that it is only by offering a total solution that we can guarantee the best product to our customers. Therefore, we have invested heavily in our own quarries in Norway, in our own vessels and terminals.

Previously, for example, we rented out our vessels for the transportation of granite on the spot market, and this came with a risk of delayed deliveries if all vessels were already rented out. As a total supplier, we do not have that problem.”


Stema Shipping was established in the Port of Aabenraa in 1975, trading liming materials for agriculture and stone materials from Sweden and Norway for the concrete and asphalt industry.

Today, the company owns five quarries in Jelsa in Norway, among others, and has a fleet of six specialised vessels and 50 terminals in 10 countries in Northern Europe. Stema Shipping has developed into a company with 350 employees and an annual production of 15 million tons of granite chippings - and the company continues to grow.


54-year-old Rolf Bonnichsen was involved in a large part of Stema Shipping’s transformation history. He joined the company in 1989, so in April he will have worked there for 30 years - the last six as CEO of the Danish department. Working in the same company for many years is not a coincidence:

“It has been a fantastic journey with lots of exciting challenges. The work in Stema Shipping is so fascinating because we are involved in the whole production process: from when the granite is broken in Norway, to its transportation to the customer, and finally, to when the new bridge or highway made of our granite is ready. With our professional skills and knowledge, we can also contribute and improve the projects for which we supply the raw materials. We can advise our customers, for instance, that using a different raw material than the one they chose in the tender documents would be both financially and qualitatively advantageous for them. Through logistic planning with our own vessels, we can also help to implement a project faster than expected, and thus save money for the customer.”


Rolf Bonnichsen states that he is "really proud" when he stands at a newly constructed bridge, newly built railway or another completed project, to which Stema Shipping has contributed:

“It is an enormous satisfaction to see a final product of high quality and to know that we have been part of it. I have also taught my wife and my two children that stones are not just stones. So, when I'm on the move with my family and we drive on a new highway or under a new bridge, my son or daughter often asks: “Is that a Jelsa?” Rolf Bonnichsen laughs.

To the question of what made him the proudest in his career, he quickly answers:

“The highway between Kliplev and Sonderborg, which was completed in 2012. The KMG consortium hired us to be responsible for the entire raw material concept, together with advising on everything about the transport needs, from beginning to end. It has been the greatest project for me until now and the customer was very satisfied.”


Not all in Rolf Bonnichsen's life is about granite. He has been playing revue in his hometown Aabenraa for several years:

“I've always feared being on stage, so it was transcendent, but you should always challenge your fears,” he smiles.

He plays golf with his wife, and he has also joined a choir:

“I like to take up new challenges - we are no less than 100 people in the choir, which is accompanied by a symphony orchestra. It’s just fun.”


Stema Shipping's collaboration with the Port of Grenaa started in 2016, and Stema Shipping has since then been engaged in unloading rail track ballast from the port for the Langå - Hobro line and the Grenaa line respectively. There are several reasons why Stema Shipping selected the Port of Grenaa as a partner, says Rolf Bonnichsen, who feels that the collaboration is "incredibly positive":

First of all, people are creative and flexible here at the Port of Grenaa. It is a reliable partner, able to think outside the box and to quickly meet our needs. They are ready to invest in extra equipment, such as different types of grabs, to be able to serve their customers in the best way possible and further develop the collaboration.

The port also has attractive facilities such as draught of up to 11 meters. Finally, the area surrounding the port is also of interest for us because there are several gravel sites in Djursland, in particular Gert Svith A/S, where it is possible to buy sand, gravel and stones. For example, we just loaded an order of 40,000 tons of stone here from the Grenaa-area for a large gas pipeline project in the Baltic Sea.”


Rolf Bonnichsen believes that the collaboration with the Port of Grenaa is going to grow in the coming years, and he also has positive expectations regarding the development of Stema Shipping's turnover:

“In the future, I expect an increase in the demand for our products, since many of the existing gravel sites in each country of our markets will face a number of challenges:

Not only the limitations, imposed by the environmental authorities on the works and development of the gravel sites, but also the neighbouring protests and, last but not least, the reduced yields of gravel sites, since the deposits of the desired stones are currently being depleted.

Therefore, we continue to invest in the future: we are getting one more vessel in 2020, and we are also planning to buy or establish several new quarries. In other words, we do our best to secure our strong position on the market - everything matters."


Contact Port of Grenaa for further details about the port. Find our contact details here.