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Galatz


Histories    EN

Author: ARDELEANU KONSTANTIN

Die Erste Donau Dampfschiffahrts Gessellschaft (DDSG) was established at Vienna in September 1830 by two British investors, with the support of Austrian capital. The company soon introduced voyages between the imperial capital and Pest, and after managing to pass the Iron Gates the Austrian ship “Argo” got to Galaţi in 1834. Two years later, DDSG established regular cruises between Galaţi and Constantinople, managing to secure an uninterrupted communication between Vienna and Constantinople. At Galaţi the fluvial steamer was changed with the maritime one, so that the Austrians established in the Moldavian harbour an agency (1836) and then an Inspectorate of the Lower Danube (1868), which coordinated the activity of the company’s passenger, cargo and mail boats from the area. By 1890 DDSG operated steamers on the routes Orşova – Brăila – Galaţi, Galaţi – Ismail (three times a week), Galaţi – Odessa (once a week) and Galaţi – Brăila (twice a day)[1]. By 1900, the society had 30 passenger and cargo ships at the Lower Danube, among which we mention “Carl Ludwig”, “Ferdinand Max”, “Neptun”, “Arpad”, “Maroş”, “Csepel” etc., ships with a capacity ranging between 819 tons (“Medea”) and 60 tons (“Csepel”). In 1913 DDSG administered 142 steamers, among which 48 passenger ships, 82 tugs, 12 self driven schleps, plus a total of 868 schleps and 215 floating pontoons, docks and cranes[2].

Die Österreichischer Lloyd was established in 1833 at Trieste as an insurance company, but it started in 1836 to invest in maritime shipping. In 1844, after an agreement mediated by the Austrian government, it took over the maritime routes of the DDSG, including that between Galaţi and Constantinople. In 1850 new weekly cruises were introduced between Galaţi and Odessa, and in the following period the Austrian Lloyd operated regular voyages, for cargo and passengers, on the route Brăila – Galaţi – Constantinople, extended at the beginning of the 20th century to the ports of the Adriatic Sea (Fiume, Trieste and Venice)[3].

The Russian Agency, which bore different names, had at Galaţi the base of its operations at the Lower Danube. In 1851, with the name “The Direction of Russian Steamers”, it covered the route between Galaţi and Odessa. Named “Prince George Gagarin”, it thereafter operated steamers on the relation Odessa – Svishtov, later extended to Belgrade. “The Russian Navigation Company of Steamers on the Black Sea and the Danube” had ships plying on the route Odessa – Ismail, extended to Svishtov. In 1894, the Danubian ports were served by five ships: “Rus” – 442 tons and 353 passengers; “Bulgaria” – 440 tons and 280 passengers; “Basarabetz” – 160 tons and 179 passengers; “Rumunia” and “Graf Ignateff” – each of 140 tons and 118 passengers. In 1901 the company operated three lines relevant for Danubian navigation: Odessa – Ismail, Odessa – Corabia and Batumi – Galaţi. Its steamers continued to navigate in 1911 on the route Odessa – Danube[4].

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. The company=s Danubian operations were interrupted in 1891, mostly due to the competition with the Fraissinet Company[5].

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. In 1884 it used three ships: “Galatz” (1,141 tons), “Taurus” (1,158 tons) and “Brăila” (1,192 tons), which did 30 voyages that year. After 1892, due to the sharp decrease of freight costs, the company was only doing bimonthly trips to the Danube. By 1905 it had fifteen steamers covering its international routes[6].

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[7].

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. After 1905, when the Romanian Railways annulled its privileged tariffs, the convention became completely disadvantageous for Danubian merchants, who struggled for its abolishment. At the same time, the company operated together with the Deutsche Levant Linie of Hamburg[8], Compagnie nationale belge de transports maritimes Adolph Deppe of Anvers and Ellerman Lines of Steamer of Anvers, and increased by 25% freights for Romanian ports[9].

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, in 1903–1905, on the route between Piraeus and Brăila. 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[10].

Curtgi Company, under Ottoman flag, operated in the Danubian harbours in late 19th and early 20th centuries on the route Brăila – Galaţi – Chania[11].

The Hungarian Royal Anonymous Fluvial and Maritime Navigation Companywas established in 1895, with private capital, having the headquarters at Budapest. In 1913, the society had 15 passenger ships, 33 tugs and 275 schleps and made voyages to the Lower Danubian ports[12].

Atlantica Company, with Hungarian capital, had its headquarters at Budapest. The company doubled in 1910–1911 its fleet from six to 12 ships. It operated on the relation Brăila – Galaţi – Sulina – Constantinople – Salonika – Smyrna – Piraeus – Alexandria and return[13].

Other shipping companies were also present at the Lower Danube in the second half of the 19th century and in the first decades of the 20th century. Le Lyonnais operated in 1857 voyages on the route Galaţi – Constantinople. Greco-Orientale and Marton & Bell, both with English capital, served the same line with passenger ships of 2,700 – 3,700 tons[14]. The Ottoman Egee and the Hungarian Levante companies made weekly voyages between Galaţi and Constantinople. In 1910 regular voyages between the Lower Danube and Italy were operated by the Italian National Company of Maritime Service[15]. Since 1913, the Danubian ports were visited by the ships of Bayerischer Llloyd – Schiffarhts – Gesellschaft[16]. According to the statistics of the European Commission of the Danube, the situation of the shipping companies that operated at the Lower Danube is presented in the table below.

Table 4.2.4.1_1

Shipping companies at the Lower Danube (1891–1913)[17]

Shipping company

Maritime line

Number of entries on the Danube

1891

1895

1900

1905

1910

1913

Lloyd

Constantinople – Galaţi – Brăila

38

42

41

40

42

38

Fraissinet

Marseilles – Galaţi – Brăila

36

26

19

15

14

21

Navigatione Generale

Constantinople – Galaţi – Brăila

26

29

42

-

-

-

Egée

Chania – Galaţi – Brăila

38

37

26

16

19

-

Destounis

Piraeus – Galaţi – Brăila

-

-

-

25

-

-

Ianoulatos

Piraeus – Galaţi – Brăila

-

-

-

1

-

-

The National Company of Maritime Service

Constantinople – Galaţi – Brăila

-

-

-

-

38

31

The Service of the Romanian Fluvial Navigation(NFR), subsidised by the Romanian state, was established in December 1887, but it began its activity in 1890. With an initial credit of one million lei, NFR was provided with a tug, named “Despina Doamna”, and four schleps (Nos. 1 to 4). In 1893 it purchased the steamer “Orient”, which made regular voyages for the transport of cargo and passengers between Galaţi and Brăila[18]. In the first decades of the 20th century, the situation of the fluvial shipping companies at the Lower Danube was the following:

Table 4.2.4.1_­2

Fluvial shipping companies at the Lower Danube[19]

Shipping companies

Number of steamers

Power of machines (hp)

Number of schleps and tanks

Capacity of ships and tanks (tons)

Number of pontoons

Value of ships (lei)

Austrian Company

154

62,490

816

376,462

233

31,606,748

Hungarian Company

43

17,208

242

116,773

74

17,367,000

Romanian Fluvial Navigation

24

8,701

69

39,804

14

8,956,975

Russian Company

12

5,160

27

10,301

18

4,000,000

Serbian Company

7

2,855

42

16,300

21

3,497,487

The line Brăila – Galaţi was inaugurated on 1 August 1895 with the ship “Orient”. In 1902 it was followed by “Principele Carol”, and in 1914 by “Principele Mircea”[20]. Since 1 March 1898 NFR also introduced a regular service of steamers for passengers and cargo on the line Brăila – Galaţi – Tulcea – Sulina[21]. In 1913 NFR had a fleet of 144 ships, with a driving force of 10,130 hp.

Table 4.2.4.1_3

Floating park of NFR (1913)[22]

Total ships

Passenger ships

Tugs

Schleps and tanks with engines

Schleps

Tugged ships, tanks

No

Force hp

No

Force hp

No

Force hp

No

Force hp

No

Force hp

No

Force hp

144

10.130

11

3.210

12

6.800

1

120

107

67.600

13

5.700

The Romanian Maritime Service(SMR) was established by law in 1887, but only became operational in 1895. It served two shipping lines: the western line Brăila – Galaţi – Rotterdam and the eastern line Brăila – Galaţi – 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[23].

The Danube, the first Romanian private company for fluvial navigation was established in 1910 with a social capital of 1.8 million lei. The administration council numbered 11 members, and its president was the prestigious ship-owner Sigismundo Mendl. Its initial fleet consisted of four tugs, eight floating elevators (with a loading / unloading capacity of 770 tons an hour) and 22 schleps (with a total capacity of 25,450 tons)[24].

Romania, the first Romanian private company of maritime navigation, was established on 27 November 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[25].

Table 4.2.4.1_4

The transport of passengers and cargo by the Romanian Maritime Service, its incomes and expenses, 1900–1914[26]

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

Table 4.2.4.1_5

The incomes of NFR (thousand lei)[27]

Year

From passengers

From cargo

Total

1897

304

511

815

1901

409

1,217

1,626

1902

407

1,101

1,508

1903

472

1,326

1,798

1904

375

1,610

1,985

1905

432

1,996

2,428

1906

426

2,228

2,653

1907

533

2,870

3,403

1908

460

3,313

2,773

1909

541

3,110

3,651

1910

581

3,399

3,980

1911

610

4,134

4,771

1912

686

4,632

5,318

1913

627

4,047

4,671

 


[1] Moise N. Pacu, Cartea judeţului Covurluiu. Note geografice, istorice şi în deosebi statistice, (Bucharest: Stabilimentul Grafic I. V. Socecu, 1891), 405–407.

[2] Grigore C. Vasilescu, Dunărea internaţională şi transporturile (Bucharest: s.e., 1931), 62, 112; Emil Octavian Mocanu, Portul Brăila de la regimul de porto franco la Primul Război Mondial (1839–1914) (Brăila: Editura Istros, 2012), 80–81, 277–279.

[3] Pacu, Cartea, 407–408; Constantin Buşe, Comerţul exterior prin Galaţi sub regimul de port franc (1837–1883) (Bucharest: Editura Academiei Republicii Socialiste România, 1976), 96; Paul Păltănea, Istoria oraşului Galaţi de la origini până la 1918, second edition, edited by Eugen Drăgoi (Galaţi: Editura Partener, 2008), vol. II, 33–35; Mocanu, Portul, 81, 270–272.

[4] Pacu, Cartea, 408–409; Constantin I. Băicoianu, Dunărea. Privire istorică, economică şi politică (Bucharest: Editura Eminescu, 1915), 141; Păltănea, Istoria, II, 27, 128, 201; Mocanu, Portul, 273–275.

[5] Pacu, Cartea, 409–410; Buşe, Comerţul, 96; 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; Păltănea, Istoria, II, 31, 35, 201–202; Mocanu, Portul, 93–95, 268–269.

[6] Tezaur documentar gălăţean, edited by Cezar Bejan, Alexandru Duţă, Stelian Iordache, Viorica Solomon (Bucharest: Direcţia Generală a Arhivelor Statului, 1988), 225; Pacu, Cartea, 410–411; Buşe, Comerţul, 177; Păltănea, Istoria, II, 202; Mocanu, Portul, 117–118, 268–270.

[7] Pacu, Cartea, 411; Păltănea, Istoria, II, 202; Mocanu, Portul, 272–273.

[8] Tezaur, 263–265.

[9] Păltănea, Istoria, II, 202; Mocanu, Portul, 276–277. For the conflict, cf. Aurel Bunea, Grigore I. Trancu, Galaţii şi tarifele de transport (Convenţia cu Johnston Line din Liverpool) (Galaţi: s.e., 1906).

[10] Păltănea, Istoria, II, 203; Mocanu, Portul, 275–276.

[11] Ibid., 275.

[12] Theodor Gâlcă, Navigaţia fluvială şi maritimă în România (Bucharest: Regia Autonomă a Porturilor şi Căilor de Comunicaţie pe Apă, 1930), 62; Mocanu, Portul, 279.

[13] Ibid., 280.

[14] Păltănea, Istoria, II, 35, 128.

[15] Ibid., 202–203; Mocanu, Portul, 273.

[16] Ibid., 280–281.

[17] Apud Ibid., 283.

[18] C. Ciuchi, Istoria marinei române în curs de 18 secole (Bucharest: Tipografia “Ovidiu”, 1906), 360–361; Păltănea, Istoria, II, 203; Mocanu, Portul, 287–288; details in Carmen Atanasiu, “Înfiinţarea primelor instituţii naţionale de navigaţie civilă la sfârşitul sec. al XIX-lea”, Muzeul Naţional, 5 (1981), 259–264; Navigaţia Fluvială Română. O firmă pentru toată Dunărea, edited by Cristian Ermei N. Popescu, Maximilian N. Popescu, Stanciu Barbălată, Anton Dumutru–Jean (Galaţi: Porto Franco, 1990).

[19] Mocanu, Portul, 289.

[20] Ibid., 293.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Victor Axenciuc, Evoluţia economică a României. Cercetări statistico-istorice, 1859–1947, vol. I, Industria (Bucharest: Editura Academiei Române, 1992), 359 (Table 329: The commercial fleet on the Danube); Mocanu, Portul, 290.

[23] Ibid., 293–297.

[24] Ibid., 304.

[25] Ibid., 305.

[26] Axenciuc, Evoluţia, I, 357 (Table 327: The transport of passengers and cargo by the Romanian Maritime Service, its incomes and expenses, during the period 1900–1938).

[27] Ibid., 358 (Table 328: The incomes of NFR).


References

Websites:

Archival sources:

Serviciul Judeţean Galaţi al Arhivelor Naţionale (The National Archives, Galaţi Branch), Inspectoratul General al Navigaţiei şi Porturilor Galaţi (The General Inspectorate of Navigation of Ports Galaţi), files starting with 1879.

Serviciul Judeţean Galaţi al Arhivelor Naţionale (The National Archives, Galaţi Branch), Căpitănia Portului Galaţi (Galaţi Habour Master’s Office), files starting with 1884.

Serviciul Judeţean Galaţi al Arhivelor Naţionale (The National Archives, Galaţi Branch), Comisia Europeană a Dunării (European Commission of the Danube), files starting with 1856.

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).

Băicoianu, Constantin I., Dunărea. Privire istorică, economică şi politică [The Danube. A Historical, Economic and Political Account](Bucharest: Editura Eminescu, 1915).

Bunea, Aurel, Trancu, Grigore I., Galaţii şi tarifele de transport (Convenţia cu Johnston Line din Liverpool) [Galaţi and the Transport Tariffs (The Convention with the Johnston Line of Liverpool)] (Galaţi: s.e., 1906).

Buşe, Constantin, Comerţul exterior prin Galaţi sub regimul de port franc (1837–1883) [The Foreign Trade through Galaţi under the Regime of Free Port (1837–1883)] (Bucharest: Editura Academiei Republicii Socialiste România, 1976).

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

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).

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).

Navigaţia Fluvială Română. O firmă pentru toată Dunărea [Romanian Fluvial Navigation. A Company for the Entire Danube], edited by Cristian Ermei N. Popescu, Maximilian N. Popescu, Stanciu Barbălată, Anton Dumutru–Jean (Galaţi: Porto Franco, 1990).

NFR, Statistica comercială pe anul 1898 [The Commercial Statistics for the Year 1898] (Galaţi: s.e., 1899).

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).

Păltănea, Paul, Istoria oraşului Galaţi de la origini până la 1918 [The History of Galaţi from Its Beginnings to 1918], second edition, edited by Eugen Drăgoi (Galaţi: Editura Partener, 2008).

Sava, N., “Istoricul înfiinţării serviciului N.F.R.” [The History of the Establishment of the NFR Service], Revista Marină, 1:6–7 (June 1913), 12–15.

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.

Tezaur documentar gălăţean [Tresure of Documents on Galaţi], edited by Cezar Bejan, Alexandru Duţă, Stelian Iordache, Viorica Solomon (Bucharest: Direcţia Generală a Arhivelor Statului, 1988).

Vasilescu, Grigore C., Dunărea internaţională şi transporturile [The International Danube and the Transports] (Bucharest: s.e., 1931).


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