|This article does not cite any sources. (December 2011)|
Österreichischer Lloyd (English: Austrian Lloyd, Italian: Lloyd Austriaco) was the largest Austro-Hungarian shipping company founded in 1833. It was based at Trieste in the Austrian Littoral, the main port of the Cisleithanian (Austrian) half of the Dual Monarchy.
As a result of the First World War the company was transferred into Italian hands. Operations continued from the port of Trieste under the name Lloyd Triestino, which officially changed to Italia Marittima on 1 March 2006.
In 1833, 19 sea transport insurance companies, banking houses and numerous individual shareholders, among them the Austrian politician Karl Ludwig von Bruck, decided to form the Austrian Lloyd Trieste. Originally the company answered the purpose to exchange information on European maritime trade and oversea markets, modelled on Lloyd's Register in London. Relying on a network of business correspondents and newspapers circulating in the Port of Trieste, it issued shipping news and also undertook to provide postal services with sailing vessels supplied by the Austrian Navy.
Within a short period of its formation, the administration applied to Emperor Ferdinand I of Austria for the privilege of steam navigation with the Levant. On 20 April 1836 the steam-navigation department was introduced, and during its second meeting on 2 August the same year the department decided to build six steamships. For this reason, 1836 is considered the year the company was founded.
The year 1844 saw another leap in the company's growth when it acquired First Danubian Steam Navigation Company's line via Constantinople to Smyrna along with all its equipment. A year later, Austrian Lloyd was declared the property of the postal service of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy.
At the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, Austrian Lloyd was present with its steamships Pluto, Vulcan, and America. Soon after the opening of the Suez Canal, the company launched its Trieste–Bombay line and established a weekly service between Trieste and Port Said. With the opening of the Bombay line, the company acquired an international dimension which was further reinforced by the extension of the line to Colombo in autumn 1879 and early in 1880 to Singapore and Hong Kong. The line to Alexandria, which was modernized in 1894 by the introduction of four new express steamers, and the line to Bombay proved to be the most profitable passenger lines in the company's history.
The company started conducting pleasure cruises in 1907.
The speed of shipping with the Levant increased and the passages to Calcutta were increased from nine to twelve. As a result, the company transferred the headquarters of the administration from Trieste to Vienna where, on 25 May 1907, the first general assembly of Vienna took place. The last expansion in the company's lines took place in 1912 with the Trieste–Shanghai express line.