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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Elder Dempster and the Shipping Trade of Nigeria during the First World War
Author:Olukoju, Ayodeji
Periodical:The Journal of African History
Geographic terms:Nigeria
Great Britain
maritime transport
World War I
Economics and Trade
History and Exploration
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/183001
Abstract:This article studies aspects of the shipping trade in Nigeria during the First World War, when shipping was indispensable for maintaining economic links between Britain and its colonies. Shipping in Nigeria revolved around the practices of the Elder Dempster Shipping Company, which enjoyed an undisputed monopoly of the trade throughout the war, and the reactions of the colonial government and private shippers to them. Scarcity of tonnage and higher freights were the chief features of shipping during the war. The allocation of shipping space, however, ranged the colonial government, the shipping company and the Combine (that is, big European) firms against non-Combine shippers. While Elder Dempster's allocation formula suited the government and the Combine firms, it was considered inequitable by other shippers. The interests of the government and Elder Dempster were, however, incompatible on the question of ocean freights. Thus, high freights which boosted the firm's turnover were detrimental to the economic interests of the colonial State. The company's monopoly and the nonintervention of the imperial government enabled it to have its way. On the whole, wartime shipping conditions, particularly Elder Dempster's practical monopoly, were a departure from prewar trends. There was a gradual return to normality in the early 1920s but the firm remained preeminent in the West African shipping trade. Notes, ref.