Harper Petersen was founded in 1943 in the UK, and in the early 1950's was already forging close links with German shipowners who were starting to rebuild fleets that had been destroyed during the war. In addition, Harper Petersen was active in timber charting and general shipbroking with an agency of its own in the UK. The Company later developed to become closely involved with the main British and international shipping lines, and in the 1980's went on to become one of the leading chartering agents for P & O Containers, Nedlloyd (and later on P & O Nedlloyd after the merger), Safmarine, United Arab Shipping, CSAV, CPShips group, Crowley and Harrisons.
Current Chairman Kenneth Petersen managed the company in the second generation actively until 2002. Two years earlier the ownership of the company had been acquired by J. & J. Denholm, one of the largest privately owned shipping organisations in Europe.
Further changes occurred in June 2003 when the Hamburg based E.R. Group (shipowners and financiers) became shareholder in Harper Petersen. Later that same year the Rickmers Group also became shareholder, acquiring 50% of the E.R. Group shares.
About a year later J & J Denholm sold their remaining shares, and as a result E.R. Group and Rickmers Holding became the sole shareholders.
In September 2004 a subsidiary company, Eight Dragons Ship Brokers Ltd, was founded in Hong Kong together with a representative office in Shanghai in order to expand business in Asia. This company was renamed Harper Petersen & Co. (Asia) Ltd. in August 2007 in order to give a common brand to our business activities worldwide.
In 2015 Harper Petersen started a bulk desk with the focus to look exclusively after the bulk carriers of its shareholders.
In 2016 the company expanded its business activities in Asia by establishing Harper Petersen & Co. Pte. Ltd., Singapore.