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The deployment of english merchant shipping: Michael and Joseph Henley of Wapping, ship owners, 1775-1830

Chapter


Abstract


  • Ralph Davis has argued that in the eighteenth century most merchant vessels operated continually in the same trade. 1 A consensus exists that most vessels were laid up during winter. This article argues that both views are false; the characteristics of the deployment of vessels in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries are flexibility and intensity. The implication is higher profits and therefore, through the multiplier effect, a significant contribution by the shipping industry to the industria lisation of Britain. Moreover, high productivity in the shipping industry, facilitating the more efficient movement of goods, implies a notable social saving and the smoother functioning of the economy. The French wars of 1793-1815 greatly increased the demand for shipping, and, with supply remaining relatively inelastic in the short run, freight rates and profits rose to very high levels. Naturally, in these conditions, ship owners would keep their vessels regularly employed and send them wherever a profitable freight offered. In the post-war depression excess shipping capacity existed and the level of deployment fell but its flexibility continued.

Publication Date


  • 2018

Citation


  • Ville, S. (2018). The deployment of english merchant shipping: Michael and Joseph Henley of Wapping, ship owners, 1775-1830. In The World of Shipping (pp. 1-18). doi:10.4324/9780429429606-8

International Standard Book Number (isbn) 13


  • 9781138367838

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-85079296915

Web Of Science Accession Number


Book Title


  • The World of Shipping

Start Page


  • 1

End Page


  • 18

Abstract


  • Ralph Davis has argued that in the eighteenth century most merchant vessels operated continually in the same trade. 1 A consensus exists that most vessels were laid up during winter. This article argues that both views are false; the characteristics of the deployment of vessels in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries are flexibility and intensity. The implication is higher profits and therefore, through the multiplier effect, a significant contribution by the shipping industry to the industria lisation of Britain. Moreover, high productivity in the shipping industry, facilitating the more efficient movement of goods, implies a notable social saving and the smoother functioning of the economy. The French wars of 1793-1815 greatly increased the demand for shipping, and, with supply remaining relatively inelastic in the short run, freight rates and profits rose to very high levels. Naturally, in these conditions, ship owners would keep their vessels regularly employed and send them wherever a profitable freight offered. In the post-war depression excess shipping capacity existed and the level of deployment fell but its flexibility continued.

Publication Date


  • 2018

Citation


  • Ville, S. (2018). The deployment of english merchant shipping: Michael and Joseph Henley of Wapping, ship owners, 1775-1830. In The World of Shipping (pp. 1-18). doi:10.4324/9780429429606-8

International Standard Book Number (isbn) 13


  • 9781138367838

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-85079296915

Web Of Science Accession Number


Book Title


  • The World of Shipping

Start Page


  • 1

End Page


  • 18