Three generations of enterprise



Dawn on the horizon

The ’50s brought swift expansion for shipping in general and the Salén lines in particular. The fleet grew quickly through purchases and commissions at the company’s own Ekensberg shipyard in Stockholm and from the Eriksberg yard in Gothenburg. 

Thanks to the good business deals, the need for personnel increased, and in 1947, the property at Styrmansgatan 4 was purchased, which quickly filled up during the 1950s. Even then, there was a special atmosphere in the building; people were proud of their company, and the camaraderie was strong. Much of this was unconscious but was integrated into the organization by the existing managers.

In 1958, the visions of a large tanker shipping company became a reality. One after another, new tankers were launched at Götaverken. “It was such that if Onassis or Niarchos had ordered a tanker, we would also have one, preferably a bit larger,” recalled Ingemar Thiel.

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A happy gang at Riksgränsen in Sweden’s far north in the 1950s. From left: Sigge Bergman, Sven Salén, Mora-Nisse Karlsson and others, preparing eggnog.

Working for Saléns gave you enormous self-confidence

Clarence Dybeck
When launched at the Götaverken shipyard in 1958 it was, at 40,000 DWT, Sweden’s and one of the world’s biggest tankers: the Sven Salén.
The boss, Sven Salén, on the bridge of one of his ships with Captain Kim Andersson, a company veteran and the commander who was saddled with trigger-happy foreign legionnaires as passengers on a voyage from Indochina to Marseille.
The engine room bulkhead was built of corrugated steel and held back the violent, pounding water masses. Alone on the other side, chief engineer Rolf Bergkvist kept the engines running.
The reefer ship Atlantide was built at the Eriksberg shipyard in Gothenburg and delivered on 26 September 1960. In February 1972, fully loaded with bananas, it ran aground on Mona Island off Puerto Rico (see page 188).
Full speed ahead under a glowing sun and with good visibility. From left: technical manager Nils Jannerfeldt, deputy CEO Sture Ödner, and boss Sven Salén aboard one of the group’s ships.

Watch the film about Salén