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The foreign office states that the same arrangement was in force during 1893. The German subsidy law, under which the arrangement with the East African-Hamburg Line exists, was enacted February 1, 1890, and has since been unchanged. The law under which the arrangement with the North German Lloyd exists was enacted April 6, 1885. It originally provided also a subsidy of 400,000 marks annually for fifteen years for two steamships of not less than 2,000 net tons, making annually 26 trips (48.880 miles) from Trieste and Brindisi to Port Said. The North German Lloyd abandoned this subsidy in 1892 as a source of loss, and the subsidy has been reduced to 90,000 marks, in return for which its Asiatic and Australian lines stop at Naples or Brindisi. In unusual cases the Government does not insist on penalties for failure to maintain the statutory rate of speed, 114 knots on the Asiatic and Australian lines. Government compensation, coupled with Government requirements in this case, was a source of loss rather than profit. Bearing on this matter is the following from the annual report of the North German Lloyd Steamship Company for 1893 (published in full on later pages):
"The Government mail steamer line to East Asia and Australia has been satisfactorily developed in the past year. This was accomplished by remodeling the subvention contract, also by the use of suitable steamships, and finally by the increase of freight on the East Asiatic line. We are pleased to report that the Government mail steamer line, which in the year 1892 was carried on at a loss of 35,040 marks, has, during the current year, in addition to its contribution to the premium fund arising from insuring our own vessels, made a clear business profit of 1,184,135 marks.".
While no other subsidies are mentioned, Germany pays also to steamships, aggregating about 30,000 net tons, compensation at moderate rates for carrying mails to the United States, and doubtless for a like service to certain Baltic ports. No inquiry in these directions has been made by this Bureau, as the matters relate purely to the postal service and have only the most remote bearing on the merchant marine.
The following tables, taken from German imperial statistics (Die Deutsche Seeschiffahrt in den Jahren 1883 bis 1892), show the progress of the German merchant marine during the past ten years. The first table shows the number and net tonnage of German merchant sail and steam vessels of over 17.65 tons.
The second table shows the number and net tonnage of vessels added each year to the German merchant marine by domestic construction, by new construction abroad, or by purchase abroad of vessels. already built. It is noted that the total tonnage built in Germany during the decade but slightly exceeds that built or purchased abroad, and that the years of greatest activity in German shipyards have been the years when construction and purchase abroad for the German flag have been greatest. The subsidy act of 1885 appears to have had no appreciable effect upon German shipbuilding, and is to be regarded primarily as a political measure, secondarily as a means of increasing exports and imports, subsidies being paid only to lines operating to new and remote markets.
The governments of Norway and Sweden give no pecuniary aid to shipping beyond small payments for carrying the mails. The geography and topography of the two countries obviously require the Government to employ small steamers to carry the mails to many domestic ports. The percentage of Norwegian tonuage carrying the mails is not stated, but it is very small.
The Norwegian postal department, replying on April 6, 1894, to the inquiry of this Bureau through the proper official channels, states that about 550,000 crowns (crown 26.8 cents) are paid annually to lines of steamers for carrying domestic mails, chiefly in the northern part of the country, adding "The subsidies, however, are not paid for the encouragement of navigation, but with a view of increasing communication with the different parts of the country."
The sum of 75,000 crowns ($20,100) is paid annually to a small steamship line furnishing a direct route between Norway and Spain, although these steamers do not yet carry the mails. The remaining foreign mail contracts for 1893 are thus stated by the Norwegian postal department, the first column giving the routes and service, second column contract price in crowns, and third column excess of that price over the ordinary rates of sea postage given in Norway, which may be regarded as a special payment for continued maintenance of the route:
1. Triweekly Christiansand-Frederikshavn
2. Weekly, Bergen, Haugesund, Stavanger to Newcastle; in winter from Stavanger only
3. Weekly, Bergen-Newcastle.
4. Weekly, Trondhjem-Bergen, Newcastle.
6. Christiania and Hamburg.
The total payments for Norwegian sea mail service, foreign and domestic, thus amounts to about 1,000,000 crowns, or $268,000, per annum.
Similar principles determine the relations of the Swedish treasury to the ocean mail service. The Swedish finance department, replying to the inquiry of this Bureau through the customary official channels, states: "The only subsidy paid by the post-office department was for the maintenance of communication between Malmö and Stralsund, which was effected by one Swedish and one German vessel, each of which made a daily trip during six months of the year. The owners of the vessels each receives as a subsidy for this service of 50,000 German marks (mark=23.8 cents) per annum, of which Sweden pays half and Germany half." Other Swedish ocean mail payments for 1893 were:
The entire payments of Sweden for ocean mail service thus amount to barely $50,000 annually.
The following tables show the growth of the tonnage of Norway and Sweden. It is noteworthy that Norway's sailing tonnage shows an almost unbroken increase during the past quarter of a century, which is the one marked exception to the decline of sail tonnage among maritime nations:
Most of the merchant marine of France in foreign trade has received Government aid in one of several forms during the past ten years. Of France's 944,013 tonnage in foreign and coastwise trade in 1890, 370,000 tons received navigation bounties and about 180,000 gross tons received mail subventions. Ocean mail contracts are held almost exclusively by the Compagnie Générale Transatlantique and the Messageries Maritimes, two corporations owning 380,000 out of France's 498,000 gross steam tonnage in 1892. The annual reports for 1892 of these two corporations are translated in the appendix devoted to steamship reports, and in numerous places indicate the nature and extent of the relations of the Government to those corporations.
The extent of mail payments to them is indicated by the fact that the report of the Compagnie Générale Transatlantique for the year ending December 31, 1892, shows in round numbers receipts for freight, 24,000,000 francs; passengers, 22,000,000 francs; mails, including colonial payments, 8,000,000 francs, the distance traversed by mail steamers being 500,000 marine leagues, making the average compensation per mile, on all lines of the company, for carrying the mails approximately $1, the Havre-New York service receiving higher pay, as higher speed is required.
The annual report of the Messageries Maritimes for 1892 gives no explicit information on these points, but its rate of mail compensation was stated to be about $1 per mile in Consular Report 112, p. 43.
The Compagnie Générale Transatlantique traversed 512,692 marine leagues on postal routes in 1892, the Messageries Maritimes 505,796 marine leagues. The two corporations are understood to receive about $1,500,000 each from the French Government annually, and each owns and operates large shipyards.
The Compagnie Générale Transatlantique traversed 248,474 marine leagues on commercial routes, receiving no mail subsidies therefor, in 1892; the Messageries Maritimes 316,339 marine leagues.
The present law establishing navigation and construction bounties in France was enacted January 30, 1893, and steps to carry it into effect were taken July 28, 1893. It has thus been in operation barely a year and it has not been possible to obtain any official information as to its operations. Indeed, after so short a trial its full effects doubtless could not be determined. It is estimated to increase former bounties by about $600,000 annually.
The act of 1893 is a modification and expansion of the law enacted January 29, 1881, to continue for ten years, which offered bounties for the construction and navigation of vessels under the French flag. The operations of the act of 1881, as well as the various recent legislative acts of France concerning the merchant marine, are fully set forth in a report to the Chamber of Deputies, on which the law of 1893 was based, drafted by M. Jules Siegfried, deputy, in behalf of a commission appointed for the purpose. (Rapport sur la Marine Marchande, Chambre des Députés, No. 2118, 1892, pp. 87.) The report throughout is an argument in favor of Government contributions toward the cost of construction and navigation of French vessels by. individuals, while an acknowledgment of the insufficiency of previous French efforts in that direction to produce results.
For some years previous to 1881 materials for shipbuilding were admitted into France free of duty.
Article 4 of the act of 1881 states: "As compensation for the increased cost which the customs tariff imposes on shipbuilders, the following benefits are awarded to them," reciting the bounties on construction which are stated below. The act of 1893, article 2, repeats this preamble, and the circular of instructions concerning the law (No. 2343) issued by the customs bureau, September 23, 1893 (p. 3), says:
"The increases are made in consequence of the act of January 11, 1892, which raised tariff taxes on materials entering into shipbuilding. The construction bounty being in fact a mode adopted to secure free raw materials for shipbuilders, it is advisable to take notice of the increased taxes they have now to pay on raw materials, especially wood, which they employ. That is the object which led the lawmaking power to increase so considerably the bounty for the construction of wooden vessels."
The following is a statement of rates of construction bounties under the acts of 1881 and 1893, the bounty being on the gross ton, except on engines, boilers, machinery, and repairs, where it is on the 100 pounds (franc equals 19.3 cents):
Various facts illustrating the operations of the law of 1881 from 1881 to 1887, and details of expenditures under it are to be found in Consular Report No. 112, January, 1890, on "Steamship subsidies," pages 38-42.
Navigation bounties were established by the act of 1881, according to article 9, by way of compensation for the obligations imposed on the merchant marine for recruiting and assistance to the navy." The French law requires all officers and
crews in the navy to be wholly French, and in the merchant marine the captain, officers, and at least three-quarters of the crew to be French. In case of war the Government can issue requisition for and take possession of any vessel receiving navigation bounties. Any vessel receiving navigation bounties is bound to perform free of charge any postal service entrusted to it by the Government, and to carry free postal agents, but the regular lines of mail steamships do not receive-navigation bounties.
The act of 1881 reckoned navigation bounties on net tonnage; that of 1893 reckons on gross tonnage. The act of 1893 applies only to sailing vessels over 80 tons, and steamers over 100 tons gross.
An additional bounty of 15 per cent was awarded by the act of 1881 to vessels suitable for service in war, which the act of 1893 increases to 25 per cent.
Under the act of 1881, foreign-built vessels of French registry were entitled to one-half the navigation bounties paid to French-built vessels; under the act of 1893 they received no bounty.
Under both acts the bounties apply only to vessels in distant foreign trade (long cours), beyond Gibraltar or the Suez Canal, or south of 30 north latitude, north of 72° north latitude, west of 15 longitude (Paris meridian), and east of 44° longitude. But within these limits vessels going from French to foreign ports are engaged in international coasting trade (cabotage international), and, if traversing more than 120 miles to a foreign port and there taking on or discharging freight equal to at least one-third of their net tonnage, they are entitled to two-thirds of the bounty. Vessels in purely French coasting trade, or engaged in fisheries and pleasure boats, receive no bounties. Four per cent of the bounties are retained for the benefit of invalid seamen, etc. There are numerous other details of the navigation bounty sections, but these are considered the essential ones in both acts. Under both acts a yearly decrease in the bounty is provided to correspond approximately to the deterioration of the vessel. The rates of navigation bounty for each 1,000 miles traversed per net ton under act of 1881, per gross ton under act of 1893, and the annual reductions, follow:
Foreign-built vessels under French flag, half of above rates.
Act of 1893:
The following table shows the net tonnage built in France and built abroad for the French flag during the nine years previous to the bounty act and during nine years under the bounty act. Net tonnage is given, as the only statistics available for comparison were expressed in those terms. The year 1881, in the middle of which the act went into operation, is not included with either group of years. For the nine bounty years the gross tonnage of vessels built in France and construction bounties paid thereon, and for machinery, etc., are found in the third and fourth columns: