HISTORY OF KUESTENSCHIFFAHRTS AG (Coastshipping Ltd) GOLDACH / SG
The grain mill Ostschweizerische Mühlen AG, Goldach in the canton of St. Gallen (above Rorschach on Lake Constance) established in 1951 the Küstenschiffahrts AG, Goldach (Coastal Shipping Ltd.) and purchased at the end of the same year the old coastal steamer BEATRIZ and renamed her GALLUS.
The history of the Ostschweizerische Mühlen AG, Goldach can be traced back to the 17th. Century, when 1670 the Bruggmühle was founded and 1899 was merged with the Neumühle to form the Vereinigte Mühlen AG (United Mills), later the Ostschweizerische Mühlen AG. The company still exists today, but again under its original name Bruggmühle Goldach AG and belongs to the Minoteries Group in Granges-près-Marnand VD (near Payerne).
The share capital of 150'000.- Swiss francs belonged to Ostschweizerische Mühlen AG and to Emil Eberle and Martin Müller, both in leading functions in the mill. Emil Eberle and Martin Müller formed also the board of directors. A check by the authorities showed, that the Ostschweizerische Mühlen fully belonged to Swiss citizens, therefore the complete share capital of the shipping company was in the hands of Swiss nationals. For this reason the Federal Council granted permission to fly the Swiss flag for their ship GALLUS. The freighter was purchased in December 1951 from A.B. Estoco, Stockholm for a price of 420'000.- Swiss francs. The reminder of the sum was covered by loans from the mill and from Mr. Eberle. Contrary to other Swiss ship owners the Küstenschiffahrts AG, Goldach took steps to operate the ship by themselves. To this end, Gottfried Marti was employed, a person with marine knowledge and experience, gathered in a shipping company in Basel.
One may wonder, how a mill invests in shipping, but it can be said, the people in this business always were internationally orientated, especially in the grain trade. With the uncertain and difficult supply situation during the World War II it was obvious to invest in a cargo ship and particularly after the outbreak of the Korean War in summer 1951, driving freight rates to new heights.
Unfortunately the GALLUS remained only for slightly more than one and a half year in service. When the Korean War ended in 1953, the freight rates slumped and the old steamer could not be operated anymore with a profit. The GALLUS was laid-up in July 1953 in Hamburg and in November of the same year given to a local demolition company.
According to Marc Müller, grandson of Martin Müller, the picture of the GALLUS still today adorns the conference room of the Bruggmühle, Goldach.
- Swiss Federal Archive, Bern
- Marc Müller, Bruggmühle Goldach
SwissShips HPS, July 2015