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Christian Salvesen Ltd. (1872-2007) (shipping company)



  • Existence: 1872 - 2007


The firm of Christian Salvesen Ltd. was first founded as a private unlimited company in 1872. The firm began in premises in Bernard Street, Leith, bought by Salve Christian Fredrik Salvesen, a Norwegian from Mandal, for business as a shipbroker and shipowner. Christian Salvesen had first arrived in Scotland in 1851 to manage a Grangemouth shipbroking business owned by his brother, Johann Theodor Salvesen, in partnership with the Edinburgh merchant George Vair Turnbull. The firm imported grain for domestic use and for distillation, and timber for pit-props, housebuilding, and for railway sleepers. Exports were mainly coal and iron. In addition to these commodities, the firm also dealt in cargoes of salt and Norwegian herring, and high profits were obtained from the flood of Australia-bound migrants and gold prospectors. In 1853, Salve Christian Fredrik took Johann Theodor's place as a partner and carried on in the firm until 1872 when he went into business on his own. This coincided with the advent of the steamship and the expansion of maritime commerce with German and Baltic ports following the Franco-Prussian war. Later on, in the 1880s, three of his sons would join him and carry on the business after his death in 1911. By then the firm's vessels were trading with ports on the Baltic, and in Norway and Sweden, and were servicing whaling stations in the Arctic, Iceland and the Faroe Islands. Cargo lines were also opened up between Leith, Malta, and Alexandria, and then into the Black Sea. During the first decade of the 20th century, the shipping industry was in a depressed state and, globally, shipping companies made heavy losses. The Salvesen fleet fared no better, although the company's whaling interests which had expanded as far as the Falkland Islands and South Georgia did help it at times to show profit. In the early decades of that century, whaling dominated Salvesen's business and indeed the firm led the whaling industry at a time when food oils and other products from the Antarctic were considered a boundless resource. A third generation of Salvesens had entered the business in the troubled economic period of the inter-war years. The firm managed to ride these out, and in whaling it expanded and modernised. As stocks began to diminish however, the firm of Salvesen - whalers for nearly 70 years - was prominent in urging conservation. By the 1960s and 1970s a fourth generation was still playing an important role in the firm, although by then Salvesen was no longer a family firm. Diversification had been an important key to the survival of the firm over these decades, from importing and exporting of timber and coal, to whaling and a tanker fleet, shipping steel and coke to Norway for the Norwegian shipbuilding and steel industries, factory fishing trawlers, and then to shore-based cold storage, canning, property development and also to house-building. Into the 21st century it was as frozen food merchants and for the distribution of quick frozen vegetables that the name Christian Salvesen PLC had become better known.

In 2005 the business was restructured into two main business segments - 'Food and Consumer' and 'Transport'. These provided outsourced supply chain operations for the food and consumer sectors including temperature controlled storage and distribution, and offered transport and warehousing for a wide range of industrial sector customers. Countries of operation comprised Belgium, France, Netherlands, Spain, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and the United Kingdom. In 2006, the company employed 14,000 staff at 200 sites, in eight countries, and had revenues of £899-million. The firm had transport deals with Tesco, Marks and Spencer, Ford and BP.

Then, in October 2007, the French based transport and logistics provider Norbert Dentressangle announced that it had reached an agreement to acquire Christian Salvesen. As a UK-based third party logistics provider with operations throughout Europe, Christian Salvesen enabled Norbert Dentressangle to significantly reinforce its own position in Europe. Indeed, the merger between Dentressangle and Salvesen created Europe's 7th largest transport and logistics company with a fleet of more than 8,000 trucks operating from almost 400 bases in 13 countries - Norbert Dentressangle had previously been more dominant in France, Germany and eastern Europe.

Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:

Diaries of Dr. I. M. MacIntosh - Antarctica 1956-1957, 1961-1962

Identifier: Coll-1285
Scope and Contents E2010.32 consists of typescript copies of the Diary of Dr. MacIntosh. Antarctica 1956-1957 and Dr. MacIntosh's Diary 1961-1962. South on 'Venturer'. Ashore at Leith Harbour. Home by 'Harvester''. There are also photocopies of the diaries. The diaries were discovered in 2007 through a bookshop by George R. Cummings - Chairman of the Salvesen's Ex-Whalers Club, and a whaler on the 'Southern Venturer', 1961-62, and mess-boy on...
Dates: 1956-1962

Papers of Sir Gerald Elliot

 Fonds — Multiple Containers
Identifier: Coll-1357
Scope and Contents The collection of papers is composed of (in Boxes 1 & 2) material in the form of memos, notes, lectures, off-prints, talks, illustrations, press cuttings, and correspondence, relating to: - Royal Society of Edinburgh, and Scottish Council Development and Industry - company structures and company responsibilities - companies and institutions with which Sir Gerald...
Dates: 1950-2013

Additional filters:

Antarctica 1
Arts 1
Diaries 1
Falkland Islands War, 1982 1
Fish populations 1