Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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International Mercantile Marine Co

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The International Mercantile Marine Co., originally the International Navigation Co, was a trust company formed in the early twentieth century as an attempt to monopolize the shipping trades. The affiliated companies were [1]:

1902 The company was founded by shipping magnates Clement Griscom of the American Line and Red Star Line, Bernard N. Baker of the Atlantic Transport Line, J. Bruce Ismay of the White Star Line, and John Ellerman of the Leyland Line; W. J. Pirrie of Harland and Wolff was also involved in establishing the company. The Dominion Line was also brought into the company. The project was bankrolled by J. P. Morgan & Co., led by financier J. Pierpont Morgan. The company also had working profit-sharing relationships with the German Hamburg-Amerika Line and the North German Lloyd Line.

William James Pirrie secured the appointment of J. Bruce Ismay as president of IMM which led to an order to Harland and Wolff from White Star Line for three enormous liners for the north Atlantic service.

The trust caused a great panic in the British shipping industry and led directly to the British government's subsidy of the Cunard Line's new ships RMS Lusitania and RMS Mauretania in an effort to compete. However, the new company had dramatically overpaid for acquiring stock due to an overestimation of the potential profit and a proposed subsidy bill in the United States Congress failed, and the company thus was never really successful.

1932 the company was dissolved

1934 Cunard bought the remnants of the White Star Line; the remaining American parts of the company were amalgamated into United States Lines.

The company is noteworthy in popular history for having owned the RMS Titanic.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The Engineer 1919/09/12