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Compañía Sud Americana de Vapores S.A. (CSAV) was founded in Chile on October, 9th 1872 from the merger of two Chilean maritime companies: Compañía Nacional de Vapores (1864) and Compañía Chilena de Vapores (1870). Currently, CSAV is the oldest shipping line in Latin America and one of Chile’s first five publicly traded companies still in existence.

Throughout the years, the company has relied on the technology of the time – sails, steam, coal and bunker – to operate general cargo and passenger vessels, bulk and reefer, car carriers and containerships. Wars, economic recessions and a highly competitive industry have tested the professional capacity and commitment of its employees and directives.

Today, the company remains active in the containership industry through its interest in the German company Hapag-Lloyd AG.

Documentary "Rescuing Chilean maritime history"

Historical documentary about the Steamship Itata, which shipwrecked off the Chilean coasts on August, 28th 1922 and which belonged to CSAV until 4 years before that sorrowful date.





A Look Back
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    Founding of Compañía Sud Americana de Vapores S.A. (CSAV)

    The Company was founded in Valparaíso on October 4th, following the merger of Compañía Chilena de Vapores and Compañía Nacional de Vapores.
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    Services expanded to New York

    Opening the Panama Canal allowed services to expand, which was intensified by the withdrawal of European vessels at the beginning of World War I.
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    Services expanded to Europe

    The company expands its services to Europe following the great crisis of 1929.
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    Refrigerated cargo services launched

    After the end of the World War II, the holds of some vessels were converted into refrigerated chambers and began transporting fruit on regular services.
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    Air and maritime agency business began

    SAAM (Sudamericana Agencias Aéreas y Marítimas S.A.) was created.
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    Services expansions and new businesses

    New trades were established to Europe, Asia and the Mediterranean. Specialized services for refrigerated cargo, vehicles and bulk cargo grew considerably.
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    Liquid bulk cargo business launched

    The Company began transporting mainly chemical products using specialized vessels between Chile and the west coast of South America.
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    Port operator business began

    The Company was awarded concessions to operate several ports in Chile through its subsidiary SAAM.
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    Subprime crisis and financial restructuring

    This included capital increases and renegotiating contracts, among other measures.
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    New controller and operational restructuring

    Quiñenco S.A. (Luksic Group) acquired an interest in CSAV. Facing its worst crisis so far, CSAV began a profound restructuring.
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    SAAM spun off

    SAAM was spun off to become SM SAAM.
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    CSAV and Hapag-Lloyd merged

    CSAV merged its container shipping business with Hapag-Lloyd, thus becoming the largest shareholder in Hapag-Lloyd with a 34% interest and jointly controlling it through a shareholder agreement with over 70% ownership. Following the deal, Hapag-Lloyd became one of the biggest cargo operators worldwide.
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    Hapag-Lloyd’s IPO

    Hapag-Lloyd conducted its Initial Public Offering (IPO) on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt and Hamburg. CSAV reduced its interest to 31.35%.
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    Hapag-Lloyd and UASC merged

    Hapag-Lloyd merged with United Arab Shipping Company (UASC), becoming the world’s fifth container shipping company. CSAV’s interest was diluted to 22.57%. However, after a capital increase by Hapag-Lloyd, CSAV attained 25.46%.
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    CSAV’s positioning and focus on Hapag-Lloyd

    At the beginning of this year, CSAV reached its target of 30% of Hapag-Lloyd, thus completing the process of increasing its holding in that company that began in 2019. CSAV also announced that it was closing all its directly operated businesses to focus on its investment in Hapag-Lloyd.