"The Caspian Sea will live for ages
and will play an even greater role"

Heydar Aliyev

The JSC Caucasus and Mercury was established by the order of Russian Senate of May 21, 1858. The staff of the stock company was settled in Saint-Petersburg and the Caspian Department moved to Baku in December of 1859. The JSC Caucasus and Mercury was established on May 21, 1958 and that is the date of the establishment of the Caspian Shipping Company.

The path followed by the Caspian Shipping was not smooth: the generations that dedicated their lives to the sea sacrificed their time, energy and talents to the establishment and development of the fleet, ports, the ship repair plants, the educational centers connected with shipping.

The history of the Caspian Shipping dates back to ancient times. The ancient people left the information about themselves on the thousands of rocky stones in Gobustan locating in the south of the capital of Azerbaijan Baku. The information also contains a number of images of different vessels with numerous staff.

Famous English traveler Tur Heyerdal came to Azerbaijan to study the said ships that had attracted the attention of the scientists long before. The age of the most ancient among the rocky carvings exceeded 9 thousand years.

The information on the size of the Caspian Sea given in the days of the sailing on a boat by Herodotus enables to form an idea on the sufficient development of the sailing in the 5th century B.C. P. Uslar who was one of the founders of the scientific study of the Caucasus languages wrote referring to that: "… It becomes evident (from the words of the Herodotus) that in the times of Herodotus the shipping existed in the Caspian Sea for the purpose of trade".

The first oil vessels Zoroaster produced by the Sweden shipyard Motala was delivered to Baku port of the Caspian Sea and commissioned in 1877. Therefore, the Caspian Sea is famous as the founder of the tanker fleet.

With the commissioning of the liquid cargo tankers in the Caspian Sea the total volume of oil products transportation from Baku had increased by 50 from 1880 till 1904. The annual volume of cargo transportation in the Caspian Sea exceeded 5 million tons in 1904-1913. The said period was notable for the strengthening of the positions of oil companies. The businessmen brother Alfred, Ludwig and Robert Nobel established a stock company Nobel brothers in Baku in 1879. Soon afterwards it turned into one of the biggest oil companies in the world.

The company of Nobel brothers owned the oil rich lands, the oil refineries and mechanical plants comprising thousands of workers and transport vessels in the late 19th century.

Another foreign company -the oil company owned by the Rothschild's Banker's House in Paris started operating in Baku in the mid 1980s.

Baku turned to the biggest center of sea transport economy. The number of liquid cargo vessels increased in the Caspian sea year-by-year. The Caspian Sea accounted for 345 liquid cargo ships as of September 1, 1899 with 212 sailing vessels and 133 ferryboats. The biggest shipping company of Nobel Brothers accounted for 13 vessels. The Caspian sea trade fleet was modernized with 35 engines with the deadweight of 15 thousand cubic feet up to 45 thousand cubic feet in the 1980s.

The first oil barge of the world started operating in the Caspian Sea in 1873.

The Vandal ship with combustion engine produced at the Sormovo shipyard was commissioned at the Baku port in 1903.

All these facts prove Azerbaijan to be one of the leading countries for the operation of the motor tanker fleet.

The Caspian fleet accounted for 129 trade liquid cargo ships in 1907.

The classes of the sea ways of Baku were arranged to meet the demands for the fleet specialists in 1881. 945 specialists graduated from each faculty of this education center from 1881-1902. Of them 136 people were Azerbaijanis.

The school of the Sea ways was established on the basis of the classes in Baku in 1903.

The first woman captain of the Caspian Sea-Shovket Shahbaz gyzy salimova was the graduate of the school in 1940.

Prominent state official Nariman Narimanov signed a decree on the nationalization of the trade fleet in the Caspian Sea on June 6, 1920. The state fleet included 390 ships with different deadweights including 106 sailing ships. The state stock company Caspian Shipping was empowered to regulate the sea transport on October 1, 1923.

The state stock company Caspian Shipping was eliminated on May 30, 1930 and the Department of Soviet Trade Fleet of the Caspian Sea was established instead on July 1 of the same year.

The first product of the Soviet ship-building the tanker Lenin arrived in Baku in 1930. Thus the Caspian fleet started to replenish with the large tankers with the capacity of 10 thousand tons. The Caspian Shipping was established within the People's Commissariat of the Water Transport on April 1, 1934.

During the Great Patriotic War the demand for the transportation of land-lease cargoes was great. At that time even those transport means not suitable for operation due to their technical state were attracted to the cargo transportation for the purpose. The fierce fights conducted at the Stalingrad and on the Caucasus in 1942 increased the inflow of military cargoes and the enemy aviation frequently violated the air borders. Nevertheless, the oil conveyer Baku-Astrakhan-Stalingrad continued the intensive and harmonious activity.

In 1946 the dry cargo fleet of the Caspian Sea was enriched with 26 new ships including Nizami, Gafur Mamedov, Kabardinka and others while the oil fleet incorporated the ships Alexei Tolstoi, Nargin, Amburan, Buynak and others.

The shipping companies Khazardonanma and Khazartanker united in 1953 thus establishing the Caspian Shipping Company and the Astrakhan road shipping -Reydtanker passed under its jurisdiction in 1961. The same year was notable for the intensive expansion of the Caspian Shipping fleet by the ships constructed in the country and abroad.

Beginning from 1960, the voyages of the Caspian Shipping vessels to the foreign countries created conditions for the transportation of cargoes to a number of European, Asian and African states through expanding the geographical coverage of the vessels.

A part of the tankers sailed from the Caspian Sea to the Black Sea for the transportation of oil products between the ports of Italy, France, Turkey, Spain, Egypt, Tunis and Bulgaria in 1962.

The largest ship line of Europe-Baku-Krasnovodsk was established in 1962. The line turned to an important route not only for the Caspian Shipping but also for the fleet system of the former Soviet Union.

Beginning from 1964 the Caspian ships passed the Volga-Baltic canal and started operating in Northern Europe.

The Caspian Shipping Company and the enterprises it controlled were transferred to the system of self-financing and full economics in 1987.