The "Austrian Lloyd Trieste" was founded in 1833 by Karl Ludwig Freiherr von Bruck (1798-1860), on the model of the British Lloyd. In 1836, the company opened a department "Steam Navigation" beside the early department "Trade & Sea Reports". Therefore, 1836 is considered to be the birth year of the shipping company.
In 1842, Ferdinand I (1793-1875), Emperor of Austria (1835-1848) allowed the ships of the company to fly the postal flag and its officers and crew to wear the Austrian uniform.
The "First Danubian Steam-Navigation Company" ceded in 1844 to the "Austrian Lloyd" the line to Constantinople and Smyrna (now Istanbul and Izmir, respectively, in Turkey). The "Austrian Lloyd" was also in charge of the mail transport between England and India via Trieste and Alexandria. In 1849, the company inaugurated its flagship "Vorwärts". The name of the ship (lit., steaming ahead) became the motto of the company.
The Suez Canal was opened in 1869, allowing the "Austrian Lloyd" to launch lines to Bombay (1869), Colombo (1879), Singapore and Hong-Kong (1880). In 1886, the company operated 86 ships.
The "Austrian lines" started operating leisure cruises in 1907 and moved its headquarters from Trieste to Vienna the same year. The inauguration of the line to Shanghai in 1912 was the last important fact of the early history of the company, which was suppressed in 1918.
There was no Austrian deep-sea shipping company between the two World Wars. The "Austrian Lloyd" was recreated under the name of "Oesterreichischer Lloyd Ship Management" in 1951. Its first fully-owned ship, MS Arlberg, was launched in 1978. The company has now offices in Austria, Germany, Cyprus, Malta, Greece and Lebanon.
The house flag of the "Oesterreichischer Lloyd Ship Management" is black with the company emblem in the middle. Postcards advertising cruises seem to indicate that the "Austrian Lloyd" already used a similar house flag with a blue field. Colour differences might be insignificant, since the black colour used on the website might be a very dark blue.
The company was also known by its Italian name as Lloyd Austriaco. The company was established in Trieste, since 1872 Lloyd Austro-Ungarico (Österreichisch-Ungarischer Lloyd), but in 1907 transferred the office to Vienna. After WWI, most of the ships were taken up by Lloyd Triestino, in 2006 changing its name to Italia Maritima. The company under the name of Austrian Lloyd was reestablished in Austria in 1951, operating today as Austrian Lloyd Ship Management (Österreichische Lloyd Ship Management).