Ringborg did not want to take
these measures, considering them not be economically
feasible. He therefore sold the vessel to Thorsell for a sum
of 32 000 rdl. rmt. During the winter of 1868-69 there was
installed a new machine at Motala Werkstad, while the ship
was fitted with 48 cabins, divided into 20 first, 16 second
and 12 third class passengers in addition to the
1871 There was built a new vessel named
after the Göta canal creator BALTZAR VON PLATEN. In 1872, it
was time to reinforce the fleet. Two new ships were ordered
for a sum of 115 000 rdr. rmt. each. Proposals had been put
forward in the Board that the new vessels would be renamed
to THIERS and DARWIN. Protests were raised by some
shareholders, why the name was changed to VENUS delivered in
1873 and JUNO delivered in 1874.
1873 had the Company four vessels of which one would be
delivered 1874. The Board's headquarters were moved to
But the 70 - century also meant a few years of economic
decline. At 1874 a explosion at the company's Nitroglycerin
plant in Vinterviken, destroyed BALTZAR VON PLATEN. Since
the vessel was not insured costs were severe. To this there
was a number of minor accidents on the other ships.
The Board was in 1876 in the situation that the company's
liabilities, by accident, due loans, etc., were closer to
150,000 rdr. rmt. It therefore took the decision that VENUS
and JUNO would be sold to cover the costs.
In order to streamline procurement of goods to the
vessels, encuoraged commanders, to get a capable officer, so
that they would have more time for goods procurement.
Despite advertising, in booth, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian
and Finnish newspapers were there no bids on VENUS and JUNO.
Captain Erik Bernhard Thorsell proved again to be the
strong man. With the energetic and farsighted leadership
recovered confidence in the company and already 1877 is
proposed, to purchase an additional boat, namely WADSTENA.
In 1885 was order laid for two new ships, which was named
PALLAS and CERES.
In 1887 was formed in Stockholm, a competitor, which was
named the Göta Kanal Trafik AB. The company ordered at
Lindholmen shipyard in Gothenburg three cargo steamers, all
delivered in 1887. They got the name GÖTA KANAL I, GÖTA
KANAL II and GÖTA KANAL III. Ångfartygsaktiebolaget Motala
Ström call on the new company and in 1888 it was decided
that Göta Kanal Transport AB purchased Ångfartygs
Aktiebolaget Motala Ström. A last steamer DELFIN was
purchased and renamed GÖTA KANAL IV and in the same year
came also the cargo steamer GÖTA KANAL V.
In March 1888 the Company name was changed to Ångfartygs
AB Göta Canal. The Company had eleven ships in service.
Combined passenger and cargo ships were: MOTALA STRÖM,
BALTZAR VON PLATEN, VENUS, JUNO, CERES and PALLAS.
Cargo vessels were: GÖTA KANAL I, II, III and V in iron and
GÖTA KANAL IV of wood.
GÖTA KANAL I, III, and V were sold in 1889 to Argentina.
On February 28, 1894 had the Company operated in 25
years. On August 17, 1900 the company founder Erik Bernhard
In the new century's first decade we can follow the
company's development, alternating with business cycles and
weather changes. The powerful advertising abroad helped to
make Sweden the attention as a tourist country. The Company
also has a significant cargo fleet of their lines on the
channel ports, Norrköping, Stockholm and Lake Mälaren
ports. Year after year, increased traffic and filled well
its role as a link between east and west coast and inland
the needs of export and import goods.
1914 First World War breaks out, and as a result, it had
passenger traffic on the company's ships almost ceased.
Freight transport is decreased.
Coal prices had increased from kr. 1:50 to kr. 2:30 per
hectolitre and machine oil by 50 percent. In view of this
company have to raise freight rates by 50 percent.
In the same situation was Ångbåts Aktiebolaget Jönköping
- Stockholm. They were obliged, in order to survive, to
expand its service to trades where Ångf. AB Göta Canal have
been alone. In order to avoid an unwanted competition the
two Company merger to one. In this Ångf. AB Göta Kanal
controlled the shipping traffic in central Sweden. At the
same time, the Company took over all five vessels: passenger
vessels, WILHELM THAM, VIKTOR RYDBERG, PER BRAHE and PRIMUS
and cargo vessels TYRA.
In 1915 the channel traffic boosted because of the
uncertain conditions prevailing in the Baltic Sea, dicharged
the ocean-going ships its goods in Gothenburg.
This goods was carried on through the Göta Canal on the
company's vessels. The company had now 14 vessels, but it
proved to be insufficient to carry all goods offered.
Therefore they hired five vessels for freight, JOHN ERICSON
and VETTERN I, two heavy cargo vessels, and ODEN, ALFHILD
In 1918 the majority of shareholders had passed
into other hands. A consortium with the shipowner Dan
Broström and Commander Hans Ericson had acquired most of the
1919 the funnel mark was changed to its current appearance:
white ribbon, yellow shield with blue wave-line. 1923 the
company consisted of seven passenger ship, and twelve cargo
Faced with the upcoming 1930 - rate was good.
According to estimates as expected, that the Swedish -
American tourist would come in rather high numbers. Faced
with this there was ordered a new ship at Finnboda yards.
The new ship was christened DIANA and delivered in 1931.
1939 Second World War erupted. The days before when the
situation pointed to everything else was nervous for the
foreign tourists. One of the big interests were on board,
was the Swedish radio news bulletins and many of the foreign
passengers were worried about whether they would get home.
On September 1, 1939 war was a fact. Already in the summer
had foreign canceled reservations and passenger season was
shortened. Cargo traffic was brisk why all ships entered
During 1940 the company's all passenger-ship
was laid up, then it was not considered worthwhile to equip
them and bring them into traffic.
From travel agencys
requests for passenger traffic on the Göta Canal began. The
company hesitated in the longest, but decided that a boat
would be put into service on trial. DIANA was equipped and
put into service in 1941. The number of passengers exceeded
all expectations. It showed that demand for tickets was
greater than the availability of places, so already in 1942
they equipped also WILHELM THAM and ASTREA.
BALTZAR VON PLATEN, CERES and PALLAS sold to Norway. They
served first as accomodat ships in Oslo harbor, later
participated in the salvage of the German battle ship
TIRPITZ, which was sunk at Tromsø 1944.
Since the end of
the war there was a call for an improvement in the company,
but rising coal prices and increased costs for ship repair
appeared in the opposite direction.
Rederi AB Svea, who had taken over the Broström Group's
shares in the Company, endorsed in 1947 the entire
shareholding of a newly formed consortium, mainly consisting
of sea captains in the Company.
When these lacked the
required capital for the proceeds, the share capital was
reduced from 1 100 000 SEK to 275 000 SEK
The company's cash and bank deposits, over 400 000 SEK, was
used for repayment to the shareholders. Company activities
during a dozen years forward with relatively high losses.
Then the difficulties encountered could not overcome was
decided that the shipping company, in 1951, would go into
liquidation. Among other things, informed the Stockholms
Enskilda Bank, that the conditions for continued financial
assistance was, as the Executive Director and the Board put
its seats available. In the last moment was the majority
shareholder of a few individuals who wanted to save this
unique tourist attraction for Sweden. Director was Alf
Tuneld which with interest went in for its task. The five
passenger vessels was left, JUNO, ASTREA, ARIADNE, WILHELM
THAM and DIANA, were equipped. The Cargo vessels was sold
and now it would only be passenger traffic for four months
It proved to be a successful approach. Tourist
flows to and economic growth showed a positive trend.
So did a few years during good and calm behave. When the
rejoicing at the Company during 1953 could show a smaller
profit, decided's to purchase a smaller passenger ships for
day-traffic. GÖTALAND was deployed on the route Jönköping -
Bergs locks. Unfortunately, it was a bad business, because
of that the conversion of the ship was too expensive.
50 - century was unusually lively, summer weather was
beautiful and passenger traffic on the canal was a small
operating profit. In 1956 pointed a series of accidents that
the company again got into financial difficulties. Company
debt is now approaching a million and cash was missing.
Additional boats was sold, ASTREA and ARIADNE, but the total
sales were used to cover mortgages on the vessels. 1957 the
Company was into bankruptcy.
Now there was a high risk that the ships would go to the
auction, they would be allayed, which in turn would mean
that the channel traffic story would be ended.
Helge Källsson in Lidköping submitted an offer to the
administrator that the felt that it could accept. For Thun
Company's behalf, he send in a tender for the ship JUNO,
WILHELM THAM and DIANA and the company name was changed to
Rederi Aktiebolaget Göta Kanal. The vessels were re-built
and the passengers pouring again.
1980 - century was marked by the quick clips and carefree
monetary transactions. None of this came to the company's
behalf. Thunrederiet began now seriously thinking of selling
the unprofitable parts of the Group. It was in the middle of
the 80 - century, a few foreign stakeholders who wanted to
buy the shipping company. But Helge Källsson hesitated, his
basic position was that the shipping company to all parts
would be Swedish, and that it would remain.
First, the bid was going to BritMari Brax, which fully
shared her father's approach and saw it as an ideological
issue that a company would be retained in the Swedish
In 1986 came BritMari Brax as sole owner and managing
director of the Company. The vessels were re build eith a
new interior to meet the high demands put on them. The
foreign agent network received a much-needed overhaul, and
the foreign representatives were to experience a better and
more intensive marketing in their respective countries
Autumn 2000 BritMari Brax sold the Company to Strömma Turism
och Sjöfart AB and the new Managing director was Björn
The text is taken from the book; Med Göta
kanal på Göta Kanal.