Detroit Free Press (Detroit, MI), Nov. 1, 1904
- Full Text
SELL OFF ITS SMALL BOATS
REPORTED PLAN OF THE U.S. STEEL CORPORATION
FIRST STEP IN DIRECTION OF MODERNIZING THE FLEET
ORDERING FOUR BIG BOATS WAS PART OF THE MOVEMENT
It was reported from Cleveland last evening that the Pittsburg Steamship Co., the lake end of the United States Steel Corporation, has under consideration the selling of a number of the small boats of the fleet and several of them may go to the coast before the end of the present season of navigation. It is expected the deal will be closed this week.
It is said the management of the fleet is anxious to dispose of all the whalebacks of the fleet, owing to the small margin of profit in operating medium sized carriers in the lake trade.
While it cannot be officially announced in so many words it can nevertheless be definitely set down that it is the purpose of the Pittsburg Steamship Co. to modernize its entire fleet of vessel on the great lakes. There is no other meaning to the recent order placed by Mr. Harry Coulby, the president and general manager of the Pittsburg Steamship Co., with the American Shipbuilding Co., for four freighters exceeding in dimensions anything on the great lakes.
Already the Pittsburg Steamship Co. has offered for sale some of its whalebacks, which are among its smaller class of vessels, and will in addition, as rapidly as it can do so, dispose of its other moderate sized freighters. If it cannot actually sell them the policy of this giant corporation for scrapping its machinery is especially significant when taken in connection with its determination to bring its fleet to the highest possible state of efficiency. It should be borne in mind, however, that the fleet of the Pittsburg Steamship Co., consisting of 112 vessels, is a modern fleet and that its average carrying capacity is high.
The average cargoes carried by its entire fleet in 1904 was 4,586 tons. The following table, which is compiled from the actual bills of lading, shows that fifty-five of its vessels carry between 5,000 and 7,000 gross tons, five between 4,000 and 5,000 gross tons, twenty-eight between 3,000 and 4,000 tons, and twenty-three under 3,000 tons:
|OVER 5,000 TONS.|
|ABOVE 4,000 TONS AND UNDER 5,000 TONS.|
|ABOVE 3,000 AND UNDER 4,000 TONS|
|UNDER 3,000 TONS.|
The vessels of the steel corporation have a carrying capacity in months of good dispatch of 1,500,000 tons. In a season of eight months, granting good dispatch, they could carry 12,000,000 tons. However, seasons are not always eight months long and good dispatch is not always the rule, so that 10,000,000 tons for the season would be more nearly the general average than 12,000,000 tons. These four new freighters which have just been ordered, however, can easily carry 80,000 tons during a season, so that with them the carrying capacity of the of the steel corporation's fleet can safely be regarded as 11,000,000 tons. The steel corporation brought down in 1902 16,500,000 tons of ore, of which amount about 6,500,000 was carried in chartered vessels. In 1903 it brought down 12,500,000 tons, of which amount about 3,000,000 tons was carried in chartered vessels. It is not known how much tonnage it has chartered this year, but it is somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,000,000 tons. It can, therefore, be seen that the needs of the corporation for ore fluctuate considerably. In building these four new vessels it does not appear to be the aim of the corporation to make its vessel capacity equal to its demands for ore. It will probably continue to be for some years the heaviest charterer of tonnage on the great lakes.
It does appear, however, to be disposed to completely modernize its great fleet so that it may reap the greatest possible profit out of the transportation end of its own business; and it must be admitted that in the work of modernizing its fleet it occupies a most unique position because it is naturally unaffected by the price of steel. It will doubtless see that its own plate is supplied for its own ships.
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- Date of Original:
- Nov. 1, 1904
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- Dave Swayze
- Copyright Statement:
- Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes