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Steamers of these lines in 1892 and 1893 carried the following number of cargoes of the stated number of bushels:
It appears thus that American-owned vessels export from New York more grain than the vessels of any other nation except Great Britain. In this branch of the export trade it does not appear that the prohibition of American registry to foreignbuilt vessels has stimulated domestic shipbuilding, no vessels of American build being engaged in the trade out of New York as reported to the Produce Exchange. It does not appear that the prohibition prevents Americans from buying ships abroad. The prohibition induces American owners to use foreign flags, to put their property and crews under foreign laws, to pay taxes on the incomes they derive from this kind of property to foreign governments, and thus discourages the growth of the American merchant marine.
ATLANTIC AND GULF FRUIT TRADE.
The importation of fruit, especially bananas, from the West Indies and Central American ports into the United States within the past few years has become a considerable factor in our Atlantic and gulf commerce. The imports of bananas amount annually to about 12,000,000 bunches. The steamers used in this service average about 750 tons each. The domestic ports engaged in the trade are New York, Baltimore, Boston, Mobile, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Savannah, and Galveston.
While the bulk of the capital employed in the trade is American, the transportation is done chiefly by small steamers, built either in Great Britain or Norway, sailing under Norwegian colors, with Norwegian officers and crews, but controlled by American importers under time charters for one or more years. A considerable percentage of the transportation is done by foreign-built steamers, owned by citizens of the United States, but not admitted to American register. A percentage is done by foreign-built steamers, owned by citizens of the United States and admitted to American register. The amount done by steamers of domestic build appears to be about one-twelfth of the whole.
The inquiry of this Bureau was confined to iron and steel steamers, as such vessels are becoming the chief means of transportation in the business, though a few older wooden steamers are still employed. No inquiry was addressed to established steamship lines, like the Atlas Line (British) and the Red D Line (American) to Venezuela and Dutch West Indies, in the business of which the transportation of fruit is only one factor.
Iron and steel steamers, as far as ascertained from those engaged in the business, employed during the last fiscal year in transporting fruit, chiefly bananas, from the West Indies and Central America to the United States were classed:
There is little or no construction in American shipyards of vessels for this service. The latest of American build in the tables which follow was constructed in 1880. Those in the business purchase foreign-built vessels for the trade. Nineteen such, of a gross tonnage of 19,226 tons, are noted: American owners of such foreign-built vessels desire to sail them under the American flag. Besides 10 vessels, of 8,444 tons, noted which have been admitted to American registry, a Senate bill is now pending in the House to admit 2 more, the Atlas and Claribel, of 3,078 tons, to American registry.
In 1890 British yards began building steel vessels especially for the trade, and in the following year Norwegian yards began the construction of the same class of vessels; in fact, these countries now furnish Americans with the vessels they require for the purposes of the fruit trade. Such vessels are built to American order and contract, on charters covering a period of years, and of late furnished with American
The general law forbidding American registry to foreign-built vessels does not promote shipbuilding for the American fruit trade in American yards nor stop shipbuilding for the American fruit trade in foreign yards, and, except where waived by special act of Congress, compels the use of foreign flags over American property employed in this business, tending also to increase the employment of foreign officers and seamen on vessels which Americans own outright or in which they have a considerable pecuniary interest, covering a period of years.
So far as this trade is concerned the registry law, in effect, requires American capital to share the profits of its investment in navigation with foreigners and to be employed in increasing the field of service of foreign, not American, sailors. Bearing on the matter is the following excerpt from a letter to this Bureau from H. Dumois & Co., of New York and Philadelphia, one, of the principal concerns engaged in the importation of bananas:
"In the busy time we pay from $35,000 to $40,000 monthly for charters, and feel sorry to see that this money goes to Europe, when better advantage could be taken here at home. One of the reasons for the American shipping interest decreasing is some of the arbitrary laws; if for them were substituted others more advantageous to the shipowner, we would be the first to own more American steamers. We feel confident that many neighbors will echo our sentiments."
THE WORLD'S TONNAGE, MOTIVE POWER, AND MATERIALS OF CONSTRUCTION.
The following tables give the latest information available as to the tonnage of the merchant marine of the world.
Table 1 is a compilation from the annual report of the British Board of Trade, dated May 29, 1894. The figures are based on the official figures of the various governments.
Tables 2 and 3 are from the annual volumes of the two great classification societies, Lloyd's and the Bureau Veritas. The minimum tonnage recognized by these societies is considerably higher than the legal basis of official returns of any government. Neither society takes cognizance in its statistics of steam vessels of less than 100 tons. Gross and net tonnage are stated by both, and comparison of Table 1 with Table 2 or 3 will indicate where net tonnage is employed in Table 1. Both societies consider only net tonnage in the case of sailing vessels, Lloyd's taking cognizance of those over 100 net tons, the Bureau Veritas of those over 50 tons. The gross tonnage of sailing vessels generally is only about 5 per cent greater than their net tonnage. The promptitude of these large private companies brings their figures down to a much more recent date than Government reports. The current volume of the Repertoire General is dated September, 1893, the current volume of Lloyd's Register, July 2, 1894.
Table 4 is compiled from Lloyd's Register for the past five years and shows the motive power and chief materials of construction of the world's merchant navies as recorded by Lloyd's. The increase of gross tonnage with the decrease in number of vessels gives a rough measure of the increasing size of vessels, due largely to the increasing use of steel. The steady increase in numbers of steam vessels and marked increase in their tonnage, with a decrease in both numbers and tonnage of sailing vessels, will be noted. The wooden steam tonnage is virtually stationary, wooden sailing tonnage shows a decrease from 6,693,738 net tons in 1890 to 5,462,438 tons in 1894. Iron construction, both for steam and sail, shows a steady decrease, while steel sailing vessels are now three times in excess of those of 1890, and steam tonnage of steel has increased from about 4,000,000 tons in 1890 to nearly 8,000,000 tons in 1894. Like figures for Great Britain, the British colonies, France, and Germany have been compiled from Lloyd's.
Table 5 gives the total tonnage tables of the Bureau Veritas for a period of years, with a table of potential tonnage, obtained by the Bureau of Navigation by multiplying the steam tonnage by 3.5 and adding to it the sailing tonnage, the ratio of 3.5 to 1 being the present measure of the efficiency of steam tonnage compared with sail tonnage. In an estimate of the carrying power of the world's ocean tonnage it is necessary to take cognizance of the factor of efficiency. The carrying power of the world's merchant marine may thus be said to have increased, as from 490 units of carrying power in 1886 to 628 units in 1893. The figures of both Lloyd's and the Bureau Veritas as to American tonnage are inadequate statements, taking slight or no cognizance of our Great Lake fleets.
Table 6 shows the vessels of over 100 tons built during each of the past five years, according to returns received by Lloyd's. The decrease in shipbuilding for 1892 and 1893, especially in Great Britain, indicates significantly, as do the reductions in wages on British vessels, elsewhere referred to, the world-wide business depression of those two years.
Table 7 contains the essential parts of Lloyd's annual summary of shipbuilding returns for the calendar year 1893. The returns are inadequate for the United States, as shipbuilding on the Great Lakes is not included.
Table 8 gives Lloyd's report of the world's construction in progress at the close of our fiscal year June 30, 1894. It will be noted that the construction at Philadelphia is larger than for all France, but only 10 per cent of that in progress on the Clyde.
1. THE WORLD'S MERCHANT MARINE.
Statement of the world's tonnage (from return on progress of British shipping for 1894), based on official returns.
[There is no uniformity in these returns, some nations resting statistics on gross, some on net ton nage. The minimum tonnage recognized by the laws of each nation is stated.]