History of North-Western Shipping Company

On 30 January 2018, North-Western Shipping Company celebrated its 95th anniversary. The Company’s history is inseparably linked with the development of shipping in Russia and formation of Saint Petersburg as a maritime capital. The Company is a successor to the state enterprise North-Western Inland Navigation Company (NWINC) established on January 30, 1923 by the Resolution of the Council of Labor and Defense. During the Great Patriotic War, the shipping company was performing a special mission. Its team was operating in active combat zone as a part of the Ladoga Flotilla of Warships. The crews of many ships were directly involved in warfare operations.

In 1946, the Red Banner of the State Defence Committee was handed over to North-Western Inland Navigation Company for a perpetual storage as an acknowledgement of the Company’s contribution to the common Victory of the Soviet people in the Great Patriotic War. In 1975, the Company title was engraved on a commemorative plate of the Monument to the Heroic Defenders of Leningrad.

A powerful impetus for the Company development was provided on 5 June 1964 when the Volga-Baltic Waterway was opened. With the Volgo-Balt launching, NWINC was the first company under the Ministry of River Fleet to commence direct international inter-basin shipping by river-sea vessels having taken the lead in that business niche. The concept of cargo transportation by river-sea vessels was developed by the Ministry of River Fleet with direct involvement of NWINC experts.

Many initiatives and undertakings that became widespread in the river fleet in the 1960s – 1980s, originated in North-Western Shipping Company. Among them:

  • bridge pilotage techniques;
  • towing of oversize equipment by inland water ways;
  • combining of fleet professions;
  • training of onboard personnel for combined river-sea fleet.

In the early 80s of the 20th century, the shipping company was taking part in construction of the largest industrial enterprises of our country’s North-West region. NWINC ships used to deliver construction materials, components of power plant turbines, floating cranes and other facilities.

With the beginning of ‘perestroika’ (the Russian for ‘restructuring’) in the late 80s, new business rules were put forward.

The Company was incorporated in December 1992 and was registered as North-Western Shipping Company JSC in 1993. The new name is the most appropriate to the Company status as an international market player.

In the early 90s, NWSC was the first company under the Ministry of River Fleet to adopt a shipbuilding programme. The following decades saw a deliberate renovation of the Company’s fleet with the newbuilds.

In 2008, NWSC shareholders made a decision to restructure business within the managing company, UCL Holding. North-Western Shipping Company focused on export/import transportation and shipping between foreign ports.

In June 2016, the Company name was changed to Public Joint Stock Company “North-Western Shipping Company” in compliance the Federal Law No 99-FL.

In 2018, the year of NWSC’s 95th anniversary, North-Western Shipping Company launched a special internet project dedicated to its development history — 95.nwship.com. A single internet platform offers unique historical materials, exclusive photos and archive documents arranged chronologically from the year of 1923 when the transport company was set up.

Apart from a deep retrospective view, the project offers a special section — History of Persons devoted to both veterans of the Company and current NWSC employees whose professionalism, experience and commitment provide an example of expertise and enthusiasm to the entire industry personnel.