Atlantic Transport Line (1900) - The Consolidation with Leyland Lines
The recent 825,000,000 combination of the Atlantic Transport Line and the Leyland lines of Boston and New York attracts attention to the position Baltimore occupies in trans-Atlantic shipping. This combination will have forty-eight steamers in the combined service.
With the steady and rapid growth of the export trade of Baltimore and other sailing ports of the line, there will be a demand for the present large facilities of the company, and adequate provisions will be made as occasion requires for the increase in foreign trade which Is now so important a featureof the nation's commerce.
The United States is now a foremost competitor in foreign markets, not only in the agricultural staples but in manufactured goods, and it is not visionary to predict that the next quarter of a century will see the greatest gain in the ocean-carrying trade ever recorded In a similar period. Transportation companies conducted on a policy like that which has characterized the management of the Atlantic Transport Line will be among the most effectual agencies in enlarging the markets for American products.
It will be recalled that President B. N. Baker, of the Atlantic Transport Line, gave the use of the steamship Missouri to the United States Government during the war with Spai,;. and this vessel was fitted out as a hospital ship, becoming the means for caring for and saving the lives of hundreds of sick and wounded. President Baker duplicated this action in giving the Maine to the British Government for a similar work in connection with the war in South Africa.
The history of the Atlantic Transport Line
The history of the Atlantic Transport Line furnishes a sidelight upon the growth of Baltimore's foreign trade. It commenced its career in a modest way in 1881 with the idea of conducting a lighterage business in the harbor of Baltimore. The capital then was $50,000, and two years later, it was increased to $200,000 to add a storage business to the operations of the company. Its original name was the Rohrer Screw Co., and with the increase in capital, it became the Baltimore Storage and Lighterage Co.
The steamship business was taken up gradually and with some caution. First, a steamship was received on consignment and managed on a commission basis; then one was chartered: then one was bought and finally, in November 1886, the Maryland, the first steamer built expressly tor the Atlantic Transport Line, was delivered to it.
The amount of the capital stock was increased from time to time, other steamers were built, and the steamship business grew until the lighterage business became, in spite of its rapid growth, a department small in comparison with the total volume of the company's business.
As the Atlantic Transport Line became better known and its business increased, a line was started from Philadelphia to London, and in 1801 another forward step was taken when a passenger service was established between New York and London.
The Future of the Atlantic Transport Line
The broadening of the business of tho company again called for an enlargement of its corporate scope, and the Atlantic Transport Co. was formed to meet this requirement. During the war with Spain this company sold to the United States Government seven of its steamers to be used for transport service.
One of four new ships built for the Atlantic Transport Line lately went into service between New York and London. There are three others which will follow at intervals. Each of the new ships is 60(1 feet long and built to provide a maximum ot comfort for crossing the Atlantic.
In its service the Atlantic Transport Line has supplied a want which has promoted visits abroad by giving facilities to persons who desired to make the trip more leisurely than afforded by the ocean greyhounds. With the service established by this line the trip is made in ten days from New York to London, giving the full enjoyment of the sea-voyage, and this schedule with the new ships will be reduced to nine days.
Apart from the longer trip at sea under comfortable surroundings, the expense is less than by the six-day lines. The business of the company, both in passengers and freight, has been enlarging each year, and to handle the latter feature it lias been frequently necessary to put into service extra ships. At Baltimore the tracks of the Pennsylvania Railroad run into the covered pier of the line, enabling the quick handling of all through business.
It will be seen that the Atlantic Transport Company has grown from a very modest beginning to be one of the great carrying lines of the country—a result that has been due to the expansion of Baltimore's commerce, combined with a wise foresight on the part of those charged with the company's management.
They were not slow to realize the revival of business and made arrangements beforehand to take advantage of the opportunities which it offered. With the abundant capital at the command of the new combination there is assurance that the public will be adequately served both In the matter of freight and passenger transportation.
Through the three great ports of the Atlantic Coast—Baltimore, New York and Boston, the company is placed in direct communication with all the principal sections of the country, and is prepared to compete most successfully for a prominent share of the foreign commerce of the United States.
"Atlantic Transport Line," in The Bankers' Magazine: Rhodes' Journal Of Banking and the Bankers' Magazine Consolidated, Volume 60, No. 4, April 1900, P. 629-630