After the War: An Uncertain World

  • Malcolm Falkus


When peace returned in 1919 Britain’s shipping industry, although few realised it at the time, faced a new world. The period before 1914 had seen a long period of growth and prosperity, with quickly rising trade in primary products; the war years themselves had seen immense profits as earnings from merchant ships soared. But by 1921 the good years had gone, and for the remainder of the inter-war period there was to be a constant struggle against downward freight rates, rising costs, and intensifying competition. The inter-war years were bisected by the world depression of 1929–33, the worst slump in history, when problems for shipowners and shipbuilders reached new depths. In 1932 nearly one-fifth of Britain’s ocean-going tonnage was laid up, while few of the voyages made were returning profits.


Diesel Engine Shipping Line Freight Rate Marine Diesel Engine Uncertain World 
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  1. 2.
    Department of Overseas Trade, Report on the Commercial, Industrial and Economic Situation in China for 1927 (London: HMSO, 1928) p. 27.Google Scholar
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    W.J. Moore, Shanghai Century (Ilfracombe: A.H. Stockwell, 1966).Google Scholar

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© Nestor Custodians Limited 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Malcolm Falkus
    • 1
  1. 1.University of New EnglandAustralia

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