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Title: Sunset over the Red Ensign : the decline of the British deep sea shipping, 1945-89
Author: Shore, Philip
ISNI:       0000 0001 3407 1796
Awarding Body: University of Kent at Canterbury
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 1990
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This thesis investigates the decline of the British deep sea merchant fleet over the period 1945-1989, a decline evident in both relative terms against its major competitors and from the mid-1970s in a dramatic fall in tonnage of the British-owned fleet. For the purposes of analysing the industry's poor performance, it is necessary to divide the period into three distinct phases: post-war reconstruction without radical innovation (1945-65); rapid technological and market developments (1966-73); and severe, prolonged depression (1974-89). Methodologically, therefore, explanations valid in one phase need not apply throughout the whole period. Chapter One sets out the scope of the study, sUlll1l8.I'ises the declining fortunes of British shipping, and explains the approaches used to identify its causes. Chapters two to six present analytical treatments of these causes. First, British technological changes. shipowners were slow to respond to the massive Second, they took a pessimistic view of the markets and were reluctant to engage in new ventures until the mid-1950s. In 1958-66 and again from 1973 all shipowners had to contend with severe depressions. TIlird, there was a lack of action in controlling operating costs before 1965 and again from 1973. In the first period shipowners proved unwilling to use external finance, although the drawbacks of the more progressive policy were evident from 1974. Fourth, the government restricted profitability and increased the tax burden until more aid was provided from 1956, while other states' protectionism hit liner operators. Fifth, the shipowners were reduced by continual attrition, from the 1960s by consolidation of ownership and by diversification out of. These in turn reflected a chanie in the nature of management traditional control by the founding families. Chapters Seven shipping rom the am Eight comprise five case-studies of a representative selection of shipowners in relation to issues raised in the preceding analytical chapters.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: History