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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Getting Too Great a Grip: European Shipping Lines and British West African Lighterage Services in the 1930s
Author:Olukoju, Ayodeji
Periodical:Afrika Zamani: revue annuelle d'histoire africaine = Annual Journal of African History (ISSN 0850-3079)
Notes:biblio. refs.
Geographic terms:West Africa
Great Britain
maritime transport
History and Exploration
Economics and Trade
Sea transport
Abstract:With only one natural seaport on the West African coastline, shipping in the region during the colonial period was dependent upon the use of lighters to feed ocean-going vessels. However, lighterage services were monopolized by the leading expatriate shipping lines which constituted the West African shipping Conference or cartel. This essay examines the reaction of the British government when an American tramp shipper challenged the cartel on the issue of shipping charges in British West Africa and triggered the West African lighterage services controversy of the 1930s. The paper exposes the discriminatory practices of the lighterage companies which tried to forestall potential competition on the US/West Africa shipping route. The cartel, by cleverly tying its interests with those of the United Kingdom and mobilizing support in the Colonial Office and the Board of Trade, proved too entrenched to be dislodged. In its analysis of the debate among leading officials in the Colonial Office, the essay sheds light on the cleavage between the protectionists and free traders, the ramifications of business/government, metropolitan/colonial relations, and on the leverage of shipping in the imperial economic system. It was a system clearly controlled by the imperatives of the paramountcy of British over foreign, and of metropolitan over colonial, interests. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract]