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Sunday, February 24th 2013, 6:31am

Shipping Lines and Companies

The Alaska Steamship Company

This firm, which presently holds a near monopoly of intercoastal shipping between Alaska and the Lower Forty-Eight states, was formed in 1895 by Charles Peabody, George Roberts, Melville Nichols, George Lent, Frank E. Burns and Walter Oakes. It prospered in the last years of the Nineteenth Century, sustained first by the Klondike Gold Rush, and then the development of fish canneries, missions and lastly copper mines. In 1909 the firm was sold to so-called Alaska Syndicate, a consortium of the House of Morgan and the Guggenheim copper interests, to sustain copper mining operations in the Wrangell Mountains. From 1915 shareholding in the firm passed to the control of the Kennecott Copper Company. It presently operates four passenger vessels and eight freighters totaling more than 52,000 tons gross and 74,000 tons deadweight on route northward from Seattle and Tacoma to Juneau, Anchorage and numerous smaller ports, as well as voyages to the Aleutian Islands in the shipping season.

The Isthmian Steamship Company

Founded in 1915, this firm is an affiliate of the United States Steel Company. The formation of the United States Steel Products Export Company in 1903 saw the need for dedicated ocean shipping to carry cargos steel and steel products around the globe. With the assistance of the Federal Steam Navigation Company of London and Norton Lily of New York, the Products Export Company acquired a fleet of steamers under the British flag to haul American steel exports around the globe under a variety of advertised services. In 1914 these vessels were transferred to the American flag to avoid requisition by the Allied powers during the Great War. In the aftermath of hostilities, the Isthmian firm replaced its older British-built vessels with a uniform fleet of turbine-powered steamers constructed in American shipyards, which it continues to operate today on both inter-coastal and overseas routes, the latter including services to northern Europe, to the Far East via the Mexican Canal, to both coasts of South America and an around the world service from New York which includes stops at Manila, Saigon, Singapore, Batavia, Calcutta, Cape Town and Cleito. The firm’s fleet includes twenty-seven cargo vessels of more than 158,000 tons gross and 253,0000 tons deadweight


Wednesday, February 27th 2013, 6:16am

The Matson Navigation Company

Based in San Francisco this firm was founded in the late Nineteenth Century by the Swedish-born William Matson, who began operations by carrying sugar from Hawaii to the American mainland. In the years prior to the Great War the firm grew prosperous from this traffic, and began the introduction of passenger services. With the withdrawal of competitors during the hostilities, Matson came to dominate the shipping of bulk cargo from Hawaii and the importation of all manner of merchandise and manufactured goods. It introduced the first of its luxury passenger vessels, the Malolo, in 1927, and has invested considerable capital in the tourist trade to the Hawaiian Islands. It acquired the Oceanic Steamship Company from the Spreckels interests, and though it provides services to the American possessions in Samoa and onward to New Zealand and Australia. The current fleet comprises twenty-nine vessels, including eight large passenger-cargo ships, of more than 266,000 tons gross and 238,000 tons deadweight

The Merchant and Miners’ Transportation Company

This firm was founded in 1852 by a group of merchants in the city of Baltimore to establish steamer connections with the city of Boston. It prospered in the years prior to the Civil War, and survived the doldrums of trade which followed. In the 1880s the firm diversified its sailings, offering services to Providence, Rhode Island, to the North, and to Savannah, Georgia, and Jacksonville and Miami, Florida, to the south; it also established a second base of operations in the port of Philadelphia. In the years prior to the Great War was one of the principal operators of coastal packet boats on the Eastern Seaboard; since the War the number of passenger-carrying vessels has been reduced but the firm operates a large number of small coastal cargo ships – the fleet presently includes five passenger-cargo ships and fourteen freighters, totaling more than 67,000 tons gross and 89,000 tons deadweight.


Saturday, March 2nd 2013, 11:12pm

Charles H. Mallory and Company

One of the oldest firms engaged in American coastal shipping, the Mallory combine operates a number of passenger and cargo services under such titles as The Mallory Line, The Gulf and Southern Line, and the Portland Line. Established in the 1850s using sailing vessels, the core of the firm was the New York and Texas Steamship Company – the original Mallory Line. Following the collapse of Charles Morse’s putative coastal packet empire, the Mallory firm rescued a number of Morse’s lines, including the Colombian Steamship Company, Eastern Steamship Company, the New York and Miami Steamship Company, the New York and South Carolina Steamship Company and the New York and West Indies Steamship Company – the famous Ward Line. While its ships are owned by various subsidiaries the fleet is managed by the Mallory firm, and employed on coastal services from New York and Philadelphia southward to Charleston, Savannah, Jacksonville, Miami and ports of the Gulf of Mexico as far as Galveston. The Portland Line sails northward from Boston to ports in Maine and Nova Scotia. The Ward Line offers services to ports in the West Indies, including Nassau and Havana, and sailing to Vera Cruz, Progreso and Tampico in Mexico. In 1922 the firm established the Seminole Steamship Company to enter the petroleum trade. The firm owns or manages a total of thirty nine vessels – seven passenger-cargo ships, fourteen coastal packet ships, thirteen freighters and five oil tankers – amounting to more than 206,000 tons gross and 191,000 tons deadweight.

The Marine Department of the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey

The export of refined petroleum products was among the earliest ventures of the Rockefeller oil empire, and its Anglo-American Oil Company subsidiary began shipping operations with the steamer Bayonne as early as 1889. The firm still controls substantial tonnage flagged abroad by the Marine Department is responsible for the large number of tankers operated under the American flag – most of which are employed on carrying cargo from the oil ports of Texas or California to markets on the eastern seaboard of the United States, or from Venezuelan ports to refineries in Philadelphia or New Jersey. A number of the firm’s most modern vessels have been acquired by the United States Navy for conversion as fleet oilers, but the company presently operates seventy-seven oil tankers totaling more than 670,000 tons gross and more than 1,000,000 tons deadweight, including the huge William Rockefeller and John Archbold, constructed in 1921 by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company.


Sunday, March 3rd 2013, 6:00am

American-Hawaiian Steamship Company

Established in 1899 to provide cargo services from the eastern seaboard to the newly-acquired territory of Hawaii, this firm is presently one of the major intercoastal shipping concerns in the United States. Its primary business is the carriage of cargo from East Coast ports to the American Pacific Coast, and the firm maintains regular sailing to Hawaii. It no longer operates passenger vessels. The current fleet comprises twenty six vessels of more than 156,000 tons gross total, and more than 255,000 tons deadweight.

American Shipping and Commercial Corporation

This firm, established in 1922, is a part of the financial empire of W. Averell Harriman. It salvaged the remains of the Morgan-backed International Mercantile Marine Company and now operates passenger and cargo services under the American flag on a global basis. It operates the prestige United States Line on the North Atlantic, with such well known passenger steamers as the Constitution and the Independence, the Columbia and the Liberty and the express liner America. Its American Merchant Line operates services to Britain and Western Europe using a fleet of modern cargoliners. It also operates the American Pioneer Line, which provides cargo services to Australasia and India pursuant to the Jones-White Act. Its Baltimore Mail Line subsidiary operates five passenger-cargo steamers between the east and west coasts of the United States. In all it controls twenty seven vessels, totaling more than 400,000 tons gross and 317,000 tons deadweight.


Sunday, March 3rd 2013, 8:18am

Atlantic Refining Company

Founded in 1866 as the Atlantic Petroleum Storage Company, this firm became the Atlantic Refining Company in 1870, and subsequently became a part of the Rockefeller-dominated Standard Oil trust. Regaining its independence in 1911, the firm began to establish its own tanker fleet in 1918, which now numbers nineteen vessels, including such large turbo-electric vessels as the J.W. Van Dyke. Taken in total, the fleet masses more than 165,000 tons gross and 259,000 tons deadweight.

Archibald H. Bull and Company

Founded in 1902, this firm participates in both the coastal cargo and regional shipping markets. It operates the Southern States Line, which provides freight services from the port of Baltimore southward to Florida and the ports of the Gulf Coast, and the Baltimore Insular Line, whose routes include Baltimore-Havana-Veracruz, Baltimore-San Juan and Philadelphia-Havana-Progreso-Veracruz. Its fleet comprises eleven cargo vessels totaling more than 39,000 tons gross and 58,000 tons deadweight.


Tuesday, March 5th 2013, 5:53am

California Transport Corporation

This company, a subsidiary of the Standard Oil Company of California, operates a substantial fleet of American-flag oil tankers hauling oil cargos on its corporate parent’s behalf. The fleet, based in San Francisco, comprises seventeen vessels aggregating more than 127,000 tons gross and 186,000 tons deadweight.

Cities Service Oil Company

Though based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, this firm operates a fleet of steam tankers to carry its products to markets on the eastern seaboard via ports in Texas and Louisiana. It presently owns nine ocean tankers totaling more than 70,000 tons gross and 106,000 tons deadweight.


Sunday, March 10th 2013, 6:20am

Continental Oil Company

This firm acquired its first deep-sea tanker in 1916, in order to carry its products to markets on the eastern seaboard. It presently operates six vessels of more than 41,000 tons gross and 63,000 tons deadweight.

Crowell, Thurlow and Company

Situated in the city of Portland, Maine, this firm began its activities in the 1870s with a fleet of sailing vessels; it made the transition to steam in the years after 1900. The firm maintains a fleet of colliers and freighters on coastal routes hauling coal from Norfolk and Philadelphia north to New England and Nova Scotia and returning with timber and other bulk goods. It presently operates a fleet of nine steamers totaling more than 42,000 tons gross and 65,000 tons deadweight.


Monday, March 11th 2013, 4:12am

Robert Dollar and Company

San Francisco timber baron Robert Dollar began his shipping interests in 1900 with a fleet of wooden schooners carrying the products of his lumber mills to ports along the Pacific coast of the United States. He acquired his first steamships in 1915 and following the Great War entered the trans-Pacific trade. Acquiring the venerable Pacific Mail Steamship Company in 1919 the Dollar firm operates the American President Line, offering passenger and cargo services From San Francisco to Japan, China and the Philippines; it also operates an around-the-world passenger and cargo service on the route San Francisco – Honolulu – Yokohama – Kobe – Shanghai - Hong Kong – Manila –Singapore – Penang – Colombo - Port Said – Alexandria – Naples – Genoa – Marseille – Boston - New York – Cristobal –Balboa - Los Angeles - San Francisco. The firm also operates the American Mail Line, which provides cargo services from Seattle/Tacoma to ports in Japan, China, the Philippines and Indochina. The present fleet, which is the subject of a rebuilding program, comprises nine large passenger-cargo vessels and eight cargoliners, totaling more than 198,000 tons gross and 200,000 tons deadweight.

Export Steamship Company

This firm was organized in 1929 to take advantage of the subvention provisions of the Merchant Marine Act of 1928 and enter the trade between the United States and the countries of the Mediterranean basin. It is managed by the firm of James H. Winchester and Company of New York. The company operates the American Export Line, which sails from Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York to Malta, Alexandria, Jaffa, Haifa and Beirut, and the American Mediterranean-Levant Line, which calls at Piraeus, Salonica, Byzantium and Constanta. It has built four well appointed passenger-cargo vessels for its premier services, as well as a number of modern freighters. Its twelve vessels aggregate more than 95,000 tons gross and 124,000 tons deadweight.


Friday, March 15th 2013, 4:37am

James A. Farrell and Company

Founded in 1925 by James A. Farrell Junior and his partners, this firm operates vessels in both the intercoastal and foreign trades. It operates the American South African Line, which links ports on the American eastern seaboard with ports in southern Africa between Lobitos and Mombasa, providing both passenger and cargo services. It also operates the American West African Line, which provides cargo-only sailings to West African ports ranging from Dakar to Matadi. Its Argonaut Line offers intercoastal cargo services from New York and Boston to Los Angeles and San Francisco. The combined fleet comprises two passenger cargo motorships and sixteen cargo vessels, two of which are under construction; its tonnage amounts to more than 117,000 tons gross and 155,000 tons deadweight.

William R. Grace and Company

This long-established New York trading house had built up a strong economic position in South America, cemented by a fleet of steamers under the British flag; with the coming of the Great War in 1914, these vessels were re-registered under the American flag and continued to maintain links between ports on the eastern seaboard and South America. In the 1920s and early 1930s the firm aggressively rebuilt its fleet and today it comprises nine modern passenger-cargo vessels and eight cargo ships, totaling more than 105,000 tons gross and 116,000 tons deadweight


Saturday, April 27th 2013, 7:14pm

Gulf Oil Company

Controlled presently by the Mellon family of Pittsburgh, this firm was founded in the early 1900s as the Guffey Petroleum Company, and operated some of the earliest American-flag deep sea tankers to carry petroleum from the Texas oilfields to the eastern markets. The Guffey interests were bought out in 1907, and as Gulf Oil, the firm has continued to expand its ocean fleet to include twenty-two tank ships aggregating more than 168,000 tons gross and 271,000 tons deadweight.

Kellogg Steamship Company

This firm is a subsidiary of the Kellogg Oil and Gas Company, and provides specialized tanker services in the domestic petroleum trade. Its fleet comprises four elderly tankers totaling more than 20,000 tons gross and 31,000 tons deadweight.


Sunday, April 28th 2013, 1:06am

Kerr Steamship Company

Originally ship brokers and agents, this firm entered the deep-sea shipping trades in 1915, when it acquired a number of Austro-Hungarian flag vessels then immobilized in neutral American ports. It subsequently constructed a number of vessels for operation under the American flag on routes to the West Indies and particularly to Atlantis, offering both passenger and cargo services. With passage of the Merchant Marine Act of 1928 it availed itself of the opportunity to reconstruct its fleet and presently operates modern passenger-cargo vessels as the United Mail Line, sailing from New York and Boston to the West Indies and to the principal ports of Atlantis. It fleet aggregates more than 72,000 tons gross and 47,000 tons deadweight.

Charles Kurz and Company

The Kurz firm shifted its operations from ship-brokerage to ship-owning in the latter 1880s, building up a fleet of sailing vessels and coastal colliers. It has continued its emphasis on the bulk trades, being one of the largest independent owners of oil tankers and colliers in the United States; it is also one of the last major shipping firms to be based in the city of Philadelphia. Its present fleet comprises nine large colliers, employed primarily in carrying coal along the eastern seaboard, and nine oil tankers, totaling more than 97,000 tons gross and 145,000 tons deadweight.


Saturday, May 11th 2013, 8:26pm

Libby, McNeil and Libby

Best known for its commercial canning activities, this Chicago-based firm operates a small fleet of fish cannery ships based in Tacoma, Washington. In addition to its canneries, it operates two freighters employed to shuttle processed fish back to market and to haul supplies to its canning vessels during the fishing season. The fleet totals more than 12,000 tons gross and 14,000 tons deadweight.

Luckenbach Steamship Company

This firm was founded as a tugboat operation in New York City by Lewis Luckenbach; in the decades since it prospered through the carriage of coal from ports in Virginia northward to New England, and today is one of the largest intercoastal shipping operators in the United States. It operates services from ports on the eastern seaboard of the United States to ports on the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean. It fleet comprises twenty vessels totaling more than 136,000 tons gross and 210,000 tons deadweight.


Sunday, May 12th 2013, 12:34am

Lykes Brothers Steamship Company

Though formally established only in 1915, the Lykes family had long operated sailing vessels and steamships in regional shipping between the ports of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. It has since grown to be one of the major shipping firms on the Gulf coast, operating the American Dispatch Line (Gulf ports to West Africa), the Gulf Mediterranean Line (Gulf ports to Iberia, southern France and Italy), the Southern States Line (Gulf ports to Western and Northern Europe), the Texas Star Line (Gulf ports to the United Kingdom, specializing in cotton exports) and the Tampa Inter-ocean Line (intercoastal shipping from Gulf ports to California). Its fleet comprises twenty-six vessels totaling more than 144,000 tons gross and 222,000 tons deadweight.

Mississippi Steamship Company

Founded by a syndicate of New Orleans businessmen in 1919, this firm has been in the forefront of developing overseas shipping services from that city. It has long operated the Gulf, Brazil and River Plate Line, which serves to connect New Orleans with the coffee ports of Brazil and the rich agricultural regions in Gran Uruguay and Argentina; four passenger-cargo vessels and four freighters are employed on these services. The firm has also availed itself of the newly-opened Mexican Canal to open a new service, the Gulf and South American Line, to provide direct shipping services from New Orleans to ports on the western coast of South America as far south as Valparaiso; it presently operates six cargo vessels on this route. The firm has also invested heavily in the refurbishment of its fleet, having announced in 1942 a program for construction of three new passenger-cargo vessels and four modern cargoliners. As such, the fleet comprises twenty one ships totaling more than 121,000 tons gross and 164,000 tons deadweight.


Thursday, May 30th 2013, 7:59am

Moore, McCormack and Company

Founded in 1913, this firm entered the deep-sea trades during the Great War, opening routes to Brazil and the River Plate; afterwards it expanded its services to Europe, particularly the Baltic. It operates the American Scantic Line, which provides passenger-cargo service on the route New York-Copenhagen-Stockholm-Gdynia-Helsinki-Petrograd; the American Continental Line, which provides cargo services from New York and Boston to ports in Britain, Nordmark and the Baltic; the American Palmetto Line, which connects the ports of Charleston and Savannah with ports in France and Iberia; and the American Premier Line, which operates both passenger and cargo vessels between New York and the principal ports of Brazil, Gran Uruguay and Argentina. Its fleet presently comprises seven passenger-cargo and fourteen cargo vessels totaling more than 167,000 tons gross and 200,000 tons deadweight.

National Bulk Carriers Inc.

This firm was established in 1935 by the shipping entrepreneur Daniel K. Ludwig, to enter the business of transporting oil. In addition to acquiring vessels on the open market, Mr. Ludwig established Welding Shipyards Inc. of Norfolk, Virginia, as a subsidiary of National Bulk Carriers to construct large oil tankers of novel design, utilizing welding techniques as opposed to the traditional technique of riveting. The firm’s fleet presently comprises nine vessels in service and a further four building or ordered from the Norfolk shipyard. These mighty vessels – each of more than 18,000 tons deadweight – are expected to pass into service in 1943 and 1944. The combined fleet totals more than 103,000 tons gross and 176,000 tons deadweight.


Monday, June 17th 2013, 6:50am

Ocean Steamship Company of Savannah

Founded in 1867 as a subsidiary of the Central Railroad of Georgia, this firm operates coastal passenger and cargo services from Savannah northward to Philadelphia, New York and Boston. The present fleet comprises four coastal packet vessels and three small freighters totaling 27,000 tons gross and 24,000 tons deadweight.

Old Dominion Steamship Company

Founded in 1867 as a successor to the Virginia and New York Steamship Company, this firm operates coastal passenger and cargo services from the ports of Norfolk and Hampton Roads northward to Philadelphia and New York, and southward to Charleston and Savannah. Its modern fleet includes two packet vessels and seven coastal cargo ships totaling more than 23,000 tons gross and 30,000 tons deadweight.


Friday, July 12th 2013, 2:50am

Ore Steamship Company

The Bethlehem Steel Company established its own shipping department in 1918, principally to carry iron ore to its tidewater steel mill at Sparrows Point, near Baltimore, Maryland. It built nine vessels in its own yard at Baltimore, which remain in service to the present time. The fleet masses more than 66,000 tons gross and 154,000 tons deadweight.

Pacific Steamship Company

Once one of the leading ship owners on the Pacific Coast, the firm now only operates the Admiral Line, which provides a cargo-only service from Tacoma to the Hawaiian Islands, and the California Coastal Line, which provides passenger and cargo services between ports on Puget Sound and San Francisco. Its combined fleet comprises two coastal packets and six freighters, totaling more than 41,000 tons gross and 45,000 tons deadweight.


Saturday, July 13th 2013, 6:42am

Pan American Petroleum and Transport Company

The Standard Oil Company of Indiana organized its tanker subsidiary in 1925, primarily to carry its petroleum and crude oil from the Caribbean basin to the United States. In contrast to many American tanker operators, it has pursued a program of fleet renewal and the average age of its seven vessels is less than six years; it totals more than 57,000 tons gross and 96,000 tons deadweight.

Pope, Talbot and Company

A forest products company headquartered in San Francisco, this firm entered the coastal shipping trade in the late Nineteenth Century, operating timber schooners and small freighters. It entered the intercoastal trade in 1915, shipping its timber to the eastern seaboard and returning with cargos of manufactured goods. It acquired the fleet of the McCormick Lumber Company, a competitor, in 1922, and, in 1942, opened a new intercoastal service between the Pacific and Gulf coasts as the California Eastern Line. Its fleet presently comprises ten cargo vessels of more than 58,000 tons gross and 91,000 tons deadweight.


Monday, July 15th 2013, 12:54am

Richfield Oil Company

Headquartered in Los Angeles, California, this regional oil produced entered the petroleum transport trade in the wake of the Great War, acquiring a modest fleet of six vessels built between 1917 and 1921, amounting to slightly more than 35,000 tons gross and 56,000 tons deadweight.

Sabine Transportation Company

Based in the city of Port Arthur, Texas, this firm was founded in 1908 to operate tug- and tow-boats along the Gulf of Mexico and to haul barges along the Mississippi River. It subsequently built up a fleet of ocean-going tankers to transport crude and refined products from the Gulf Coast to the eastern seaboard. Its present tanker fleet comprises eight vessels totaling more than 40,000 tons gross and 64,000 tons deadweight.


Wednesday, July 17th 2013, 4:42am

Seatrain Shipping Company

Established in 1928 by a consortium of railroad operators, this firm has constructed a fleet of four specialist vessels for the carriage by sea of fully-laden rail freight cars, which are lifted aboard and off-loaded using either dock-side cranes or the ships own gear. The fleet was of vital importance during the construction of the Mexican Canal, carrying large steel sections and other heavy materials from their ports on the eastern seaboard to the Canal Zone with minimum trans-shipment. It totals more than 31,000 tons gross and 41,000 tons deadweight.

Sinclair Navigation Company

The shipping arm of the Sinclair Refining Company of New York and Tulsa, this firm operates a fleet of ten tankers, the majority dating to the early 1920s. The fleet totals more than 64,000 tons gross and 101,000 tons deadweight.


Friday, July 19th 2013, 5:40am

Southern Pacific Steamship Company
A subsidiary of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company, the origins of this firm lie in the famous Morgan Line  the first steam ship operator in the Gulf of Mexico and later a major coastal packet operator in the years following the Civil War. Over the years it has absorbed other operators of coastal steamers, including the Cromwell Line and the Plant Investment Company. It presently operates passenger services between New York, Charleston and New Orleans, and cargo services between ports in the mid-Atlantic region and the Gulf Coast. Its fleet presently includes two passenger vessels and eight freighters, totaling more than 66,000 tons gross and 87,000 tons deadweight.

Charles H. Sprague and Company

This firm is located in the city of Boston, with the principal business of shipping coal northward to the major metropolitan centers of New England from ports in Virginia. Its vessels are registered to a subsidiary, the Mystic Steamship Company, which owns a total of ten large colliers totaling more than 41,000 tons gross and 69,000 tons deadweight.