It was the city broker and ship-owner, Per Johan Haegerstrand, who founded the company in 1859. Gävle was at the time Sweden’s largest shipping town and the leading shipbuilding town in the Nordic region. Sailing ships from the many shipyards by the “Gavleån” sailed all the oceans of the world. However, steamboats eventually took over the role of the sailing ships. With that, the shipbuilding ended and so did many of the shipping companies who only invested in Gävle-built sailing vessels.

PJ Haegerstrand became principal owner of a large number of companies and had before his death in 1905, at nearly 80 years of age, laid the foundation for continued development of the company. Haegerstrand’s adventures are recorded in the book “Mister Agent, we are sinking!” by Ingvar Henriksson.