This work is a reprint of a 1962 book, British Shipping and World Competition, by maritime economist Dr S. G. Sturmey. It seeks to explain why the tonnage of ships registered in the United Kingdom declined from forty-five percent of the world total in 1900, to sixteen percent by 1960. It presents four possible answers and proceeds to examine them in detail: changes in approaches to competition resulting in changes to the economic structure of the industry; international interference in competitive structures; unrelated factors, such as government policies that didn’t directly concern shipping but still caused an impact; and the internal actions within British shipping relating to changes in industrial circumstances. It is comprised of fifteen chapters, an appendix tabling the contribution of British shipping to the balance of payments, a bibliography, comprehensive index, epilogue, and a foreword from the series editor which states that the Sturmey’s arguments remain resonant in the field of maritime history in the present day. Sturmey makes a particular effort to place the activity in the British shipping industry into an international context for the sake of comparative analysis. It concludes that the decline of the industry was primarily due to internal decision-making rather than external factors - a conclusion that was considered divisive and provocative upon initial release, but has stood the test of time. The epilogue attempts to predict the future of British shipping post-1960, suggesting shipowners could improve the industry’s prospects: however, few of these predictions came to be.
Series Editor's Foreword / iii About the Author / v Preface / vii Figures and Tables / ix Chapter 1: The Problem Defined / 1 Chapter 2: High Water: The Pre-1914 Period / 11 Chapter 3: War and Reconstruction / 31 Chapter 4: The Troubled Years: The Interwar Period / 53 Chapter 5: Nationalism in Shipping in the Interwar Years / 83 Chapter 6: The Birth of the Liberty / 117 Chapter 7: The Prosperous Age: The Postwar Period / 135 Chapter 8: Enemies of Competition in the Postwar Years / 159 Chapter 9: Flags of Convenience / 177 Chapter 10: Economics of Shipping Enterprises / 197 Chapter 11: Shipowning and Resource Allocation / 223 Chapter 12: Labour Relations and Labour Costs (by Basil Mogridge) / 237 Chapter 13: The Conference System / 271 Chapter 14: The Structure of the British Industry / 301 Chapter 15: The Question Answered / 321 Epilogue: The Future / 339 Appendix: The Contribution of British Shipping to the Balance of Payments / 349 Bibliography / 353 Index / 357
October 18, 2017
Research in Maritime History 42