Christian Salvesen was formed in 1872 by the Salvesen family, focusing initially on providing shipping services. For much of its early life the company was one of the world’s largest whaling companies.
It diversified into the frozen food industry in 1958 by opening its first cold store in the UK and expanded into frozen food distribution as customers requested transport for their frozen food operations. Its logistics and transport business was thus born.
Christian Salvesen further diversified its activities into other areas during the 1970s, but continued to focus on the food services sector, expanding its cold stores and food processing facilities, and subsequently winning a major frozen food contract with Marks & Spencer in 1986.
During the 1980s, Christian Salvesen acquired a number of businesses including Aggreko, which was demerged from the group in 1997, when it also sold a number of other non-core businesses to focus on logistics and transport activities. During the 1990s, Christian Salvesen expanded its presence within the network transport sector in Europe by the acquisition of Swift in the UK in 1993, Gerposa in Spain in 1999 and later Darfeuille in France in 2001. It also built up its frozen and chilled logistics business across mainland Europe and the UK, creating operations in five countries.
It has operations in the UK, France, Benelux, Ireland, Portugal and Spain. Salvesen employs about 14,000 people, across some 200 sites.