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Constantza


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Author: ARDELEANU KONSTANTIN

Die Österreichischer Lloyd was established in 1833 at Trieste as an insurance company, but it started in 1836 to invest in maritime shipping. At the beginning of the 20th century it had 71 ships that navigated across the Adriatic Sea, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. Danubian Line regularly covered weekly the ports of Constantinople, Burgas, Varna, Constanţa, Sulina, Galaţi and Brăila. The line Constantinople – Odessa also touched at Constanţa twice a month. The steamers of the Austrian Lloyd brought to Constanţa, in 1903, 30,800 parcels (1,962 tons of cargo) and 1,233 passengers. The cargo came mostly from Trieste (428 tons), Constantinople (381 tons), Messina (140 tons), Mytilene (108 tons) and Limassol (106 tons). The same steamers loaded at Constanţa 12,800 parcels of different goods (751 tons), 7,703 tons of grain and 947 passengers [1].

Compagnie des Messageries maritimes de France was established in 1852 at Paris, but had its direction at Marseilles. It introduced regular cruises on the route Constantinople – Galaţi in 1856, when it opened an agency at Galaţi, with several installations and a wharf. In 1884 it used a single ship (“Delta” of 7,977 tons), which did bimonthly voyages on the route Brăila – Constantinople, also touching at Constanţa. The company’s Danubian operations were interrupted in 1891, mostly due to the competition with the Fraissinet Company [2].

Alfred Fraissinet Company was based in Marseilles, and its capital was, at the end of the 19th century, 10 million francs. Since 1879 the company introduced weekly voyages between Marseilles and Brăila. After 1892, due to the sharp decrease of freight costs, the company was only doing bimonthly trips to the Danube, also touching at Constanţa. By early 19th century it called at Constanţa every 17 days [3].

Navigazione generale italiana società Florio e Rubatino was established at Genoa in 1881. It introduced in the 1880s weekly voyages between Constantinople and Galaţi – Brăila [4]. At the beginning of the 20th century, after the merger of Florio & Rubattino, it had 103 steamers with a total tonnage of 187,800 tons. Its main lines left from Genoa and also served the ports of the Black Sea. One of the lines covered weekly the ports of Constanta, Sulina, Galaţi and Brăila. In 1903 its ships brought to Constanţa 36,360 parcels (2,077 tons) of different goods and 1,086 passengers, thus being the largest shipping company present at Constanţa in terms of good imported to Romania. Regarding exports, in 1903 Italian steamers loaded 12,800 parcels (751 tons) of different goods, 7,703 tons of grain and 947 passengers. The same company sent 28,000 parcels (1,894 tons), 27,054 tons of grain and 2,066 passengers [5].

Deutsche Levante Linie

The shipping company “Deutsche Levante Linie” was founded in 1889 at Hamburg. At the beginning of the 20th century it had three express steamers and 27 commercial steamers. It covered nine regular shipping lines, all in the ports of the Levant. It also had a regular line between Hamburg and the Romanian ports, covered every three weeks. It touched at Hamburg, Malta, Piraeus, Smyrna or Salonika, Constantinople, Burgas, Varna, Constanţa, Galaţi and Brăila. There existed a similar relation from Anvers. The ships of the “Deutsche Levante Linie” brought to Constanţa, in 1903, 1,327 tons of different goods, mostly from Anvers (739.7 tons) and Hamburg (498.8 tons) [6].

The English Johnston Line of Liverpool operated from 1870 the route Danube – Liverpool, later extended to Anvers, with departures every ten days. In 1903 Johnston Line concluded a convention with the Romanian Maritime Service and the Romanian Railways for the transportation of goods from England, Belgium and the Netherlands. In 1903 it unloaded at Constanţa 3,370 tons of different goods [7].

The Wescott Line

The English company with the headquarters at London (Westcott & Laurance) and at Anvers (Westcott & Flint) had steamers plying regularly from these two ports to Gibraltar, Malta, the Greek ports, Egypt, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania and Russia. These voyages were covered by 13 steamers. These steamers unloaded at Constanţa, in 1903, 137 tons with different merchandise [8].

Destounis & Jannoulatos was a Greek shipping company with the headquarters at Piraeus, which operated eight ships by the beginning of the 20th century. It plied on seven lines, all connecting Piraeus with major ports of the Eastern Mediterranean and of the Black Sea. It also operated weekly, in 1903–1905, on the route between Piraeus and Brăila, touching at Constanţa, Sulina and Galaţi. In 1906, in four months, its ships brought to Constanţa 834.5 tons of goods and loaded 452.3 tons. 208 passengers also boarded here on these steamers. Due to the political problems between the governments of Bucharest and Athens, the company interrupted its operations in Romania in 1906, but returned in 1910 under the name of Ionica & Destounis [9].

Fabre Line

It had monthly voyages between New York and Constanţa. The inauguration of this line was done in May 1914 when “Corcovada” of the Hamburg Line company stopped at Constanţa [10].

Other shipping companies, such as Curtgi, Atlantica, Italian National Company of Maritime Service also visited Constanţa at different times of this period.

The Romanian Maritime Service (SMR) was established by law in 1889, but only became operational in 1895. It served two shipping lines: the western line Brăila – Galaţi – Constanţa – Rotterdam and the eastern line Brăila – Galaţi – Constanţa – Constantinople, later extended to Alexandria. The route Brăila – Constantinople was inaugurated on 26 August 1895 with the steamer “Medeea”. The line Danube – Anvers – Rotterdam was served by five cargo boats, but it had a great financial deficit, as SMR steamers could not resist the competition of better equipped foreign companies.

With the new credit of 10 million lei, approved in 1897, SMR bought the steamers “Dobrogea” and “Bucureşti”, and in 1898 “Turnu Severin” and “Constanţa”. For securing the traffic of passengers between Constanţa and Constantinople it bought the steamer “Regele Carol I”. The service was led by a director, subordinated to the Romanian Railways. In terms of its inner structure, SMR had two services: a central one, with three divisions (administrative, exploitation and technical) and an exterior one (the inspectorate of steamers based at Constanţa and the agencies). In Romania, SMR had agencies at Galaţi, Brăila, Sulina and Constanţa, and abroad at Rotterdam, Constantinople, Dardanelles, Mytilene, Smyrna, and Piraeus. In 1906, SMR was subordinated to the Ministry of the Public Works and since 1908 became part of a new direction, later called the General Direction of Ports and Waterway Communication.

With the ships bought in the first years, the Romanian states opened two lines: the Eastern Line (1895) for attracting the transit of good, mail and travellers from Eastern Europe to the East, and the Western Line (1897)[11]. For supporting its activity, the state concluded several rail arrangements, directing to Constanţa the Orient Express; since 1895 the international train Ostende – Vienna (with connections to London) touched to Constanţa weekly, under the name Ostende – Constantza Express. In 1899 an agreement established the route Berlin – Cracow – Lemberg – Bucharest –

[1895), Europa i 1896, ilcătuit irnTsă umbla, j, Peru,

tul de liturile ă cum

Constanţa, shortening the travel time to Constantinople [12].

Until 1905 the line Constanţa – Constantinople was served by the steamers “Regele Carol I” and “Principesa Maria” (former “Ignatio Florio”). It was prolonged, in 1905, to Piraeus, and in 1906 the line Constanţa – Alexandria was established. “The Eastern Line” was completed with routes to Syria and Asia Minor (Smyrna). Mail and passenger steamers plied three times a week on the relation Constanţa – Constantinople, three bimonthly courses Constanţa – Alexandria – Jaffa and two monthly voyages Constanţa – the Syrian coast.

“The Western Line”, Danube – Rotterdam, was established in 1897, and in 1907 was prolonged to the British archipelago, to Liverpool and Swansea. It was covered by the steamers “România” and “Împăratul Traian”. In 1904 it was extended to Dunquerque, although the Romanian grain exporters also wanted to get to Hamburg.

Although the state invested greatly in the organisation and endowment of SMR (2.5 million in 1895, 10 million in 1897), the company had huge financial deficits, mainly due to the great losses on the Eastern Line. Until 1916 SMR’s loss was 17,015,899 lei, a deficit covered by the state budget as the society was meant to support Romanian exports [13]. The causes of the deficit were related to the low number of ships and to their tonnage. As the western line had huge deficits due to the small capacity of ships, in 1912 SMR started to buy larger steamers. In 1913 it bought the ships “Bucegi” and “Carpaţi”, of 7,200 tons each, and “Durostorul” of 1,410 tons [14]. In all this period, SMR transported 892,000 tons of goods and 156,000 passengers.

Romania, the first Romanian private company of maritime navigation, was established in 1913 with the headquarters at Bucharest and an initial capital of 10 million lei (increased then to 20 million lei). The founding members were important Romanian political and economic personalities, and the first president of the administration council was engineer Anghel Saligny. The company bought several ships, “Milcov”, “Olt”, “Siret” and “Jiu”, all of them large steamers (with a capacity between 5,600 – 6,600 tons) built in England in 1912–1913 [15].

Table 4.2.4.1_1

The Transport of Passengers and Cargo by the Romanian Maritime Service, Its Incomes and Expenses, 1900–1914 [16]

Years

Passengers

Cargo (thousand tons)

Income (thousand lei)

Expenses (thousand lei)

1900

1,107

1,503

1901

1,626

1,389

1902

20,250

146.9

1903

2,265

2,574

1904

1,947

2,746

1905

38,732

2,375

4,282

1906

41,539

119.8

3,493

3,493

1907

124.1

3,757

3,905

1908

119.9

3,042

4,945

1909

141.4

3,489

5,161

1910

126.2

4,211

5,585

1911

55,222

113.9

4,060

5,658

1912

4,735

6,049

1913

6,074

7,080

1914

2,440

4,850

In 1896 there were active at Constanţa: SMR; Johnston, Fraissinet, Mesageries Maritimes, Wilson Hull, Austrian Lloyd, Deutsche Levante Linie, Courtji, Florio & Rubatino [17].

 


[1] C. Christodorescu, Portul Constanţa. Mişcare comercială şi maritimă în anul 1903 (Constanţa: Tipografia Ovidiu, 1905), 201–204.

[2] Lucia Taftă, “Companii franceze de navigaţie la Dunărea de Jos şi pe Marea Neagră în a doua jumătate a secolului al XIX-lea”, Revista Arhivelor, 76, 61:1-2 (1999), 140–148.

[3] Moise N. Pacu, Cartea judeţului Covurluiu. Note geografice, istorice şi în deosebi statistice, (Bucharest: Stabilimentul Grafic I. V. Socecu, 1891), 410–411; Emil Octavian Mocanu, Portul Brăila de la regimul de porto franco la Primul Război Mondial (1839–1914) (Brăila: Editura Istros, 2012), 117–118, 268–270.

[4] Pacu, Cartea, 411; Mocanu, Portul, 272–273.

[5] Christodorescu, Portul, 204–206.

[6]Ibid., 206–207.

[7]Ibid., 208–209.

[8]Ibid., 208.

[9]Ibid., 207–208; Mocanu, Portul, 275–276.

[10] Stoica Lascu, Mărturii de epocă privind istoria Dobrogei (1878–1947), vol. I (1878–1916) (Constanţa: Muzeul de Istorie Naţională şi Arheologie, 1999), 657–658; more on this, mainly for the interwar period, in Constantin Cheramidoglu, “Linia maritimă Constanţa – New York”, Anuarul Muzeului Marinei Române, 10 (2007), 249–254.

[11] Mariana Cojoc, Constanţa – port internaţional. Comerţ exterior al României prin portul Constanţa 1878–1939 (Bucharest: Cartea Universitară, 2006), 91–92.

[12]Ibid., 92–93.

[13]Ibid., 95.

[14] Theodor Gâlcă, Navigaţia fluvială şi maritimă în România (Bucharest: Regia Autonomă a Porturilor şi Căilor de Comunicaţie pe Apă, 1930), 170; details on the activity of this shipping company in Marian Moşneagu, “50 de ani de navigaţie maritimă românească (1895–1945)”, in vol. Dobrogea 1878–2008. Orizonturi deschise de mandatul european, edited by Valentin Ciorbea (Constanţa: Ex Ponto, 2008), 279–333.

[15] Mocanu, Portul, 305.

[16] Victor Axenciuc, Evoluţia economică a României. Cercetări statistico-istorice, 1859–1947, vol. I, Industria (Bucharest: Editura Academiei Române, 1992), 357 (Table 327: The transport of passengers and cargo by the Romanian Maritime Service, its incomes and expenses, during the period 1900–1938).

[17] M. D. Ionescu, Cercetări asupra oraşului Constanţa. Geografie şi istorie (Bucharest: Tipografia şi Fonderia de litere Thoma Basilescu, 1897), 57; Idem, Dobrogia în pragul veacului al XX-lea [Dobrudja at the Beginning of the 20th Century] (Bucharest: Atelierele Grafice I. V. Socecu, 1904), 898–900.


References

Archival sources:

Serviciul Judeţean Constanţa al Arhivelor Naţionale (The National Archives, Constanţa Branch), Primăria municipiului Constanţa (The Municipality of Constanţa), files starting with 1878.

Serviciul Judeţean Constanţa al Arhivelor Naţionale (The National Archives, Constanţa Branch), Căpitănia Portului Constanţa (Constanţa Habour Master’s Office), files starting with 1892.

Bibliography:

Atanasiu, Carmen, “Înfiinţarea primelor instituţii naţionale de navigaţie civilă la sfârşitul sec. al XIX-lea” [The Establishment of the First National Institutions of Civil Navigation at the End of the 19th Century], Muzeul Naţional, 5 (1981), 259–264.

Axenciuc, Victor, Evoluţia economică a României. Cercetări statistico–istorice, 1859–1947, vol. I, Industria [Romania’s Economic Evolution. Statistical–Historical Researches, 1859–1947, vol. I, The Industry] (Bucharest: Editura Academiei Române, 1992).

Cheramidoglu, Constantin Cheramidoglu, “Linia maritimă Constanţa – New York” [The Constanţa – New York Maritime Line], Anuarul Muzeului Marinei Române, 10 (2007), 249–254.

Christodorescu, C., Portul Constanţa. Mişcare comercială şi maritimă în anul 1903 [The Port of Constanţa. Its Commercial and Maritime Movement in 1903] (Constanţa: Tipografia Ovidiu, 1905).

Ciuchi, C., Istoria marinei române în curs de 18 secole [The History of the Romanian Marine during 18 Centuries](Bucharest: Tipografia “Ovidiu”, 1906).

Cojoc, Mariana , Constanţa – port internaţional. Comerţ exterior al României prin portul Constanţa 1878–1939 [Constanţa – International Port. Romania’s Foreign Trade through the Port of Constanţa 1878–1939] (Bucharest: Cartea Universitară, 2006).

Gâlcă, Theodor, Navigaţia fluvială şi maritimă în România [The Fluvial and Maritime Navigation in Romania] (Bucharest: Regia Autonomă a Porturilor şi Căilor de Comunicaţie pe Apă, 1930).

Ionescu, M. D., Cercetări asupra oraşului Constanţa. Geografie şi istorie [Researches on the City of Constanţa. Geography and History] (Bucharest: Tipografia şi Fonderia de Litere Thoma Basilescu, 1897).

Ionescu, M. D., Dobrogia în pragul veacului al XX-lea [Dobrudja at the Beginning of the 20th Century] (Bucharest: Atelierele Grafice I. V. Socecu, 1904).

Lascu, Stoica, Mărturii de epocă privind istoria Dobrogei (1878–1947), vol. I (1878–1916) [Contemporary Evidence on the History of Dobrudja (1878–1947)] (Constanţa: Muzeul de Istorie Naţională şi Arheologie, 1999).

Mocanu, Emil Octavian, Portul Brăila de la regimul de porto franco la Primul Război Mondial (1836–1914) [The Port of Brăila from the Free Port Regime to World War One (1836–1914)] (Brăila: Editura Istros, 2012).

Moşneagu, Marian, "50 de ani de navigaţie maritimă românească (1895–1945)” [50 Years of Romanian Maritime Navigation (1895–1945)], in vol. Dobrogea 1878–2008. Orizonturi deschise de mandatul european [Dobrudja 1878–2008. Open Horizons by the European Mandate], edited by Valentin Ciorbea (Constanţa: Ex Ponto, 2008), 279–333.

Pacu, Moise N., Cartea Judeţului Covurlui. Note geografice, istorice şi în deosebi statistice [The Book of Covurlui County. Geographical, Historical and Mainly Statistical Notes] (Bucharest: Stabilimentul Grafic I. V. Socecu, 1891).

Taftă, Lucia, “Companii franceze de navigaţie la Dunărea de Jos şi pe Marea Neagră în a doua jumătate a secolului al XIX-lea” [French Shipping Companies at the Lower Danube and in the Black Sea in the Second Half of the 19th Century], Revista Arhivelor, 76, 61:1-2 (1999), 140–148.


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