Capt. Antonio F. Cosulich began shipping activities in 1857 with the construction of the 500-ton barque FIDES in a shipyard of Cherso Island.
The Cosulich family expanded its fleet in subsequent years, purchasing steam ships and settling in Trieste, the leading harbour of the Austrian Empire, in 1889.
Capt. Antonio’s son Callisto Cosulich took over the leadership of the family and merged its activities with other partners, establishing a joint venture called Austro-Americana, which began regular passenger and freight services from Trieste to North and South America. Callisto’s brother Alberto Cosulich also built a shipyard at Monfalcone near Trieste.
During World War I, part of the fleet was lost and the shipyard destroyed. Shortly after the war, the Cosulich family, under the leadership of Callisto's sons, resumed shipping activities under the trade name "Cosulich Line" and rebuilt the Monfalcone Shipyard. Several new constructions and purchased vessels entered into services to North and South America, notably the SATURNIA and VULCANIA (24.000 grt) and OCEANIA (19.500 grt), built in 1930.
Other large passenger vessels, such as the BATORY and the PILSUDSKY were built at the Monfalcone Shipyard where an important plant for aircraft construction was also set up.
In 1935, as a consequence of the Italian Government policy during that period, the Cosulich Line—along with all other Italian shipping enterprises—was nationalised. The nationalisation of the shipyard at Monfalcone followed shortly thereafter. After World War II, in 1945, the Cosulich family began restoring their shipping business.
A new company called Fratelli Cosulich (Cosulich Brothers) was established with its head office in Trieste and branch offices in Genoa, Naples and Palermo. The primary activities included freight services run by its own and chartered vessels as well as the husbanding of independent liner companies to South American, Red Sea and Mediterranean ports. The operation of passenger vessels, plying between Genoa and North and South America, the Caribbean and Australia, on behalf of Home Lines, Gdynia America Line and other owners was carried out successfully from 1947 for almost two decades. Such enterprises were the foundation for the modern, progressive and diversified group which today operates in all areas of shipping and covers the globe from its Genoa headquarters.
In 1924 the first Italian commercial airline was born.
Fratelli Cosulich founded SISA-Società Italiana Servizi Aerei (Italian Company for Air Services), which in 1926 began its activity by running two flying boat airlines: line #1 connecting Trieste, Venice, Milan and Turin; line #2, connecting at first Trieste with Zara (now Zadar), grew in 1928 to cover also Lussino (now Mali Losinj), Ancona and Venice. Between 1929 and 1933 Fratelli Cosulich introduced new lines connecting Trieste with Genoa and Fiume (now Rijeka). After the war, in 1947, a new SISA was born, with operational bases in Gorizia, with routes to Milan and Rome. In 1949 SISA merged into AVIO Linee Italiane and ceased its activity after performing 605 flights transporting passengers and goods.