In 1986 the Greenland Home Rule authorities took over The Royal Greenlandic Trading Company from the Danish state. The Royal Greenlandic Trading Company has been the lifeline of Greenlandic society since 1774, as the company has been responsible for almost all traffic, infrastructure and supply in Greenland.Since 1990 the Greenland Home Rule has worked with determination to restructure the old state monopolies to form independent joint-stock companies in order to develop a sound market economy and to strengthen the private sector.
An important step in implementing this policy was taken by the Greenland Home Rule on 1 January 1993, when the Royal Greenland Trading Company was reorganised into three joint-stock companies: KNI-mik Piginnittut A/S, KNI Pilersuisoq A/S and KNI Pisiffik A/S.
KNI-mik Piginnittut A/S is the parent company and owns the other two companies. As the parent company, KNI-mik Piginnittut A/S is responsible for implementing the restructuring of the old monopoly company, making KNI Pisiffik A/S responsible for retail trading based on free competition, as well as wholesale business in the 10 coastal towns in West Greenland which are open for maritime traffic all year round. KNI Pilersuisoq A/S, the other subsidiary, is responsible for supplying all settlements and outlying districts, for passenger traffic at sea, for regional goods transport and for the postal services in the whole of Greenland.
When the reorganisation has been completed, the activities of KNI-mik Piginnittut A/S will come to an end, leaving the two subsidiaries to carry on independently the activities for which they are responsible.
KNI Pilersuisoq A/S carries out the following main activities:
These main activities are, in accordance with their nature, considered services for society which cannot be carried out on market terms. These activities are social responsibilities carried out by KNI Pilersuisoq A/S on business terms and on contract with the Greenland Home Rule.
- Retail and wholesale trade in consumer goods, and fishing and industrial equipment in the settlements and the outlying districts.
- Passenger traffic and transport of goods at sea, especially to settlements and outlying districts.
- National supply of liquid fuel.
- Postal services.
- Banking services in settlements and outlying districts.
Politically, these activities are subject to a principle of solidarity which is expressed in the fact that the price level for ordinary consumer goods in settlements and outlying districts may not exceed the price level in the towns in the vicinity. Concurrent with the demand that price levels in the settlements and the outlying districts run parallel to those in the towns, there is both a demand and a need for an extension in the range and quality of goods available.
Therefore, it is a prerequisite for the carrying out of the activities of the company that the Greenland Home Rule is the company's most important customer, as the Greenland Home Rule pays KNI Pilersuisoq A/S to carry out these activities on a contractual basis.
The turnover in KNI Pilersuisoq A/S is about DKK 1.2 billion a year, approx. DKK 780 million in retailing, approx. DKK 350 million in liquid fuel, approx. DKK 43 million in traffic and approx. DKK 73 million in the postal services.
Jonathan Motzfeldt, Member of the Landsting/Greenland Parliament, is Chairman of the board in KNI-mik Piginnittut A/S.
Mikael Petersen, Member of the Landsting/Greenland Parliament, is Chairman of the Board in KNI Pilersuisoq A/S.
Peter Ostermann, Member of the Landsting/Greenland Parliament, is Chairman of the Board in KNI Pisiffik A/S
KNI Pilersuisoq A/S supplies settlements and outlying districts with practically everything which the inhabitants need. In some places ships only come to the towns twice a year due to the ice cover. The town of Ammassalik.
KNI Pilersuisoq A/S is responsible for passenger traffic at sea and has approx. 60,000 passengers a year. The picture shows one of the ships serving the coastal towns, M/S Sarfaq Ittuk.
The main activity of KNI Pisiffik A/S is retail trade in Greenland, except in settlements and outlying districts. The company's activities are centred in the 10 so-called competition towns, where they work in accordance with the terms of the market with free competition in retail as well as wholesale trade.
The competition towns are situated all along the coast, from Nanortalik in the south to Ilulissat in the north.
The company has its headquarters in Sisimiut. The number of employees was approx. 670 in 1995. KNI Pisiffik A/S has a net turnover of approx. DKK one billion a year, about one-third deriving from wholesale trade with private retailers.