UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


Ganz & Co. Danubius Shipyard

The first Hungarian Shipyard, the "Óbuda Shipyard" was founded in 1835 in the bay of the Danube-Island by Óbuda. One year later the first steam-ship named "Árpád" was launched. There followed a boom in cargo transport, setting ever rising requirements before Hungarian shipbuilding industry. Inevitably it resulted in the establishment of further factories.

In the year 1892 the German shipbuilding house Howaldts Werke of Kiel set up a smaller shipyard within the premises of today's Yard pursuant to a contract concluded with the city authorities. The contract having expired at the end of 1902, Howaldts Werke decided to quit the site, which thereafter remained vacant until 1905.

One of the eight largest financial institutions in the country at the time, the Hungarian General Credit Bank had the objective of aiding the growth of the Hungarian economy. The bank had been founded in 1867, under the auspices of the Creditanstalt. The Creditanstalt, in which the Rothschild bank had a controlling interest, provided the financial framework for the newly founded bank and became its most important business partner. The Hungarian General Credit Bank had established a subsidiary in Fiume. It had functioned since 1880, at first under the name Steinacker and Co., and from January 1887 as the Fiume Credit Bank (Fiumei Hitelbank, or, Banca di Credito Fiumano). Among the more important companies from Fiume, whose foundation was supported by the bank's subsidiary, were the rice-husking plant (1881), the biggest in the Austro- Hungarian Empire, and the Danubius shipyard (1905).

A tender announced in 1905 attracted the ambitious industrial entrepreneurs Danubius, Schonichen and Hartman of Budapest to bid. Winning the contract, they organised a partnership with a view to undertaking a comprehensive reconstruction and technological updating, along with enlargement of the shipyard premises and enhancement of shipbuilding capacities.

Rijeka's Danubius shipyard was commissioned, thus continuing the local tradition of shipbuilding and becoming one of the most important production plants in Rijeka's industry. The Ganz & Co. Danubius Machine & Wagon-Work and Shipyard bought the Howaldt Shipyard situated in Bergudi (part of Fiume, today Rijeka in Croatia) and in Porto Ré (today Krajlevica in Croatia), and the Stabilimento Lazarus/Fiume Shipyard. Following these transactions the name of Hungarian shipyard was changed to Danubius Shipyard and Machine-Work Co. Ltd. All formalities having been conformed with, in 1906 the Shipyard appeared under the name "DANUBIUS", and initial works got underway.

As the Austro-Hungarian imperial administration happened to choose the Shipyard as principal builders for the imperial navy, lavish financing support, arranged through prominent banking institutions, was fortunately secured. In 1910, investments were provided to fuel a modernisation project to be impleme nted at the Shipyard to make it fit for realisation of most ambitious visions of naval ship constructions.

On the initiative from two prominent banks involved in the financing of the project, a merger was then arranged between "DANUBIUS" and well placed Budapest foundry & machinery works "GANZ & CO." for a further consolidation of the "DANUBIUS" business standing. That having been accomplished, in 1911 the Shipyard reappeared under the name "GANZ & CO. DANUBIUS". The modernisation project having been carried out within about two years, orders for naval units started to virtually pour to the Shipyard. Well eguipped with everything necessary, above all with capable experts and skilled work force, the Shipyard tackled the work with vigour and zeal. The shipyard continued producing destroyers, submarines, torpedo boats, mine layers, and cruisers.

The Szent István [St. Stephen], one of the largest warships in Europe, was launched on the 17th of January 1914 from the Ganz-Danubius shipyard. To the order of the Austro-Hungarian Navy (K. und K. Kriegsmarine), the keel of the ship was laid in 1912, and the ship was finished in January 1916, with all her parts being manufactured in Budapest. It was 152 meters long and 28 meters wide, with lateral armor 280 mm thick. It could reach a speed of 21 knots and had a crew of 38 officers and 1,060 NCOs and sailors. The Szent István began her voyage at an unlucky moment. And rather rewardingly, already by 1916, the results achieved appeared to have been indeed so remarkable to reserve the Shipyard a ranking among leading European shipyards of the era. An achievement of such a scale appears ever more remarkable in wiev of the fact that the great war had been ravaging Europe eversince 1914. On the 10th of June 1918 it was hit by a torpedo in an ambush near the small island of Premuda. The pride of the Austro-Hungarian navy and Rijeka shipbuilding then sank forever to the bottom of the sea.

Shortly after the end of the World War I, Rijeka and its Shipyard fall under Italian rule, pursuant to the Agreement of Rapallo (1920). Nava1 shipbuilding having continued to be its prevailing production orientation, the Shipyard was renamed "CANTIERI NAVALI DEL QUARNERO". Disfavored within longer term state policies and exposed to fierce competition against reputed Italian yards, the Shipyard's prosperity started to decline. Nevertheless, technical standards remained solid, and some of the naval units built within the period were distinct, particularly with regard to their specific perfomances.

3. Maj Shipyard in Croatia

Upon the capitulation of Italy (1943), Rijeka was sized by the German army, and until 1945 the Shipyard lived its greatest stagnation ever. Shortly prior to its retreating, the German army destroyed every vital facility in the Shipyard.

With enormous efforts, the shipbuilders of new Yugoslavia engaged in repair and renewal of the ravaged shipyard, inasmuch as almost everything had to be restarted with very modest resources at disposal. Until 1948, the Shipyard had been known as "KVARNERSKO BRODOGRADILISTE", and eventually it was decided for it to be named "3. MAJ", in honour of the date (3rd May 1945) on which Rijeka has been liberated, and reunited to its mother country. Principal production orientation shifted to construction of merchant cargo vessels. Smaller ships for domestic needs were built already during late forties, and during early fifties, the Shipyard ventures into construction of ocean-going merchant vessels.

With modern shipbuilding technologies having been successively acquired, annual outputs rose steadily. First export contract forthcomes in 1956, and in 1961, marine propulsion diesel engines production starts under licence from "SULZER Bross." of Switzerland. Substantial number of subsequent export shipbuilding contracts having followed throughout the sixties and seventies, with range of ship types/designs expanding, the Shipyard dedication was shifting ever more to sophisticated vessels. Quality and distinctiveness were becoming reascertained, and Shipyard's reputation regained. Built to thoughtfully own developed designs, always tailor made, vessels from "3. MAJ' became again praised and acknowledged for design, workmanship and reliability.

The recent unfortunate political developments having ensued in a most brutally aggressive war (1991-1996), imposed inestimable setbacks to any aspect of the country's economic activity. However within endeavors aimed at achieving economic recovery and progress in our newly born, independent state, comparative advantages of domestic shipbuilding industry have been given due priority in trust that truly promissing prospects for Croatian shipbuilding are yet to unfold.

Ganz Danubius in Hungary

In order to satisfy commercial demands and to enlarge capacity, in 1953 a new factory was established in Vác, on the bank of the Danube. The fusion of Hungarian ship- and crane building and boiler industry, the formation of the big enterprise "GANZ" Hungarian Shipyards and Crane Factory in 1962 affected favorably the development of the whole industrial sector and permitted the concentration of productive forces. In the course of this process building of new products began with more favorable realising possibilities as before, besides the high-series, continuous manufacture of the products of longstanding, already well known on the world market.

On the 1st of June 1985 the Hungarian Shipyards and Crane Factory assumed the name of its legal predecessor. The new name of the enterprise became GANZ DANUBIUS Shipyard and Crane Factory.

In 1989 in order to make more effective and economic the activity of the company GANZ DANUBIUS Shipyard and Crane Factory was decentralised and become a holding company under which different individual organisations started the activity, however maintaining the strong internal co-operation in design, fabrication and marketing.

The Ganz Danubius Vitla Ltd. was established in 1993, as the successor of the former Ganz Danubius Shipyards and Crane Factory, and got all the documentation of the former products. In 2006 by the fusion of the two companies - MSK Steel Ltd. and Ganz Danubius Vitla Ltd. - the Ganz Danubius Shipyards and Machine Factory was born. Our new facility at Nyergesújfalu is capable of providing wide range of technical services.

The Ganz Danubius Trading company of Budapest is specialized for site repair, overhauling and various engineering works relating to cranes, ships, floating cranes to be performed abroad at the site of their operation. The Ganz Danubius Trading Co. Ltd was established by the Ganz Danubius shipyard and Crane Factory as an independent organisation in the beginning of 1989. Since that time the company continues successfully the more than 100 years old GANZ tradition on the international market.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list

Page last modified: 11-07-2011 02:51:29 ZULU