Company History

The history of Rederiaktiebolaget Göta Kanal

The shipping company was founded on February 27, 1869, under the name Ångfartygsaktiebolaget Motala Ström. The first boat was the M/S Motalaström, built already in 1855. In addition to deck passengers, she was rebuilt to take 20 passengers in first class, 16 in second class and 12 in third class. The start of the operation exceeded expectations and two new boats, named M/S Venus and M/S Juno, were ordered by Motala Werkstad shipyard. The canal boat Juno, delivered in 1874, still is in operation to this very day, making it the world's oldest registered passenger boat with sleeping accommodations. In 1876, ​​the shipping company entered a new partnership with Thomas Cook & Co of London in a successful attempt to be the first Swedish company to attract international tourists to Sweden. In the 1880s, the company had no fewer than 11 boats in service, several of which served as combined cargo and passenger ships.

International attention

After World War I had forced a break in operations, the tourism and shipping business was resumed in the 1920s and soon up to speed again. Posters and brochures in 16 different languages ​​were spread all over the world. During this period, it was also possible to travel half the length of the canal by bus with many cultural stops in the region of Västergötland. The trip then continued aboard a canal boat from Jönköping to Stockholm. Heading into the 1930s, business was booming and prospects were good, leading to the order a new boat: the M/S Diana, delivered in 1931. However, following the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and the ensuing Great Depression, the global economic situation took a significant downturn in the 1930's and the anticipated stream of global tourists never came to Sweden. The outbreak of World War II finally meant that the boats had to be laid up for the duration of the war.

After the end of the war, the company was run by different owners to varying degrees of success in the years between 1947 and 1956. In 1957, the company was bought by ship-owner Helge Källsson from the Swedish town Lidköping who renamed it Rederi AB Göta Kanal. The three remaining boats, the M/S Juno, M/S Wilhelm Tham, and M/S Diana, were modernized and carefully restored. In 1986, Helge Källsson's daughter, Britmari Brax took over the shipping company.

A part of the Stromma Group

Since January 2001, the shipping line is a member of the Stromma Group, a company oriented towards unique travel experiences and with a long tradition in the preservation and operation of historic vessels.

Read more about the Stromma Group here >>