1902 Encyclopedia > Germany > Germany - Shipping

(Part 9)



The German mercantile marine has always been distinguished by the excellence of its personnel. The seamen of Frisia are acknowledged to be among the best in the world, and the shipping of Bremen and Hamburg had won an everywhere respected name long before a German mercantile marine, properly so-called, was heard of. Many Hamburg vessels sailed under charter of English and other houses in foreign waters, especially in the Chinese. Since 1868 all German ships have carried a common flag—black, white, red—but frequently Oldenburg, Hanover, Bremen, Hamburg, Lürbeck, Mecklenburg, and Prussia had each its own flag, and Schleswig-Holstein vessels sailed under the Danish flag. It is but lately a uniform mode of measuring the hold tonnage of German ships has been introduced, and accordingly it is only since 1871 that it has been possible to give an exact statement of the position of German shipping. The official returns show that the marine is on the increase. The following table gives its position on the 1st of January in the years 1872-78.The tonnage is reckoned according to the English register ton.


The lowest tonnage of vessels included in this retune is 16 tons for sailing vessels and 11 tons for steamers. On comparing the state of the German marine with that of other countries we find that Germany ranks fourth in the list of maritime nations. Great Britain and the United States have considerably larger fleets. That of Norway also was even in 1871 greater than that of Germany, and it has increased much more rapidly than the other since that time; but on the other hand the mercantile marines of France and Italy, which in 1871 were larger than the German, are both now less. The following table shows the proportion of the mercantile shipping of Germany belonging to each of the maritime states on the 1st of January 1878. It must be borne in mind that Bremen and Hamburg properly consist only of one port each, whereas Prussia has hundreds of miles of coast-line both on the North Sea and on the Baltic.


The number and the tonnage of steamers have, as in other countries, increased greatly, while those of sailing vessels have remained almost stationary. The aggregate horsepower of the steamers in 1871 was 23,287; in 1877 it was 50,603. The number of seamen employed in 1878 was 40,832, and of those 8173 served on board steamers.

In 1876 176 sailing vessels of 35,439 tons, and 14 steamers of 6200 tons, were built in Germany; and 8 sailing vessels of 3862 tons, and 1 steamer of 1910 tons, were built abroad. There were besides 50 ships with a total tonnage of 21,755 which had been bought in America, Holland, and Great Britain.

The shipping returns of German ports have lately fluctuated but little. The total amount was 13,311,000 tons in 1876. A striking difference will be observed in the following table in the returns between the numbers entering and clearing in ballast:—


Only 44 per cent. of the ships that trade with German ports sail under the German flag. British ships have a very considerable trade in German ports. They constitute 32 per cent. of the total tonnage, and as much as 37 per cent. of the tonnage of steam vessels. Denmark follows next with 7·2 per cent. Sweden 4·8 Norway 4·6, Russia 2·3, Holland 2·1, France 1·2, United States 1·2, Italy 0·5, other countries 0·5, other countries 0·4. The number of voyages in all made by German ships in 1876 was 45,492, of which 12,963 were made between German ports. Much more considerable, however, is the trade of German ships between the home ports and foreign countries, as the subjoined table will show, while no fewer than 9777 voyages were made in 1876 by German vessels without calling at any home port:—


There were 5544 voyages made between non-German port in Europe, the greater number being between one English port and another. Many German vessels also run between the Baltic ports of Russia and Sweden. From European ports 993 vessels sailed for non-European ports, and 869 returned thence to Europe. Here also the greater number ran from Great Britain to the United States, the West Indies, and South America. 2371 ships made their voyages without touching at European ports. Most of these were engaged in the coasting trade in the Chinese Seas, on the South American coasts, and in the West Indies.

As regards the shipping of the most important German ports, the following table will shoe the total tonnage of ships entered and cleared in 1876:—


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