Furness, Withy & Co.

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Furness, Withy & Co. Ltd. was a British shipping company headquartered in West Hartlepool and operated a successful freight and passenger liner service to North America .


Sir Christopher Furness, Baron Furness of Grantley (1852-1912) and his brother Thomas entered the shipping business in 1878, and in 1884 Christopher Furness bought Edward Withy's shipyard in West Hartlepool . In 1885 the two partners opened a joint service with the Wilson Line from Newcastle to New York City , which operated under the name Wilson-Furness Line .

In 1891 Wilson withdrew from the company, which then moved to Furness, Withy & Co. Ltd. was renamed and operated a fleet of initially 18 cargo ships. What was to follow now was an unprecedented wave of takeovers and start-ups. Furness, Withy & Co. was to become one of the most successful shipping companies of all.

The first subsidiary shipping company was founded in 1892 with the Chesapeake & Ohio SS Co. , followed in 1898 with the Manchester Liners, and the takeover of the Canadian & Newfoundland SS Co. 1902 Furness, Withy bought the Gulf Line and opened liner services to South Africa and Australia. In 1906 the Neptune SNCo followed. , and in 1910 the shipping companies Agincourt SS Co. and Norfolk & North American SN Co. Ltd. added to the growing empire. In 1911 Furness, Withy acquired 50% of Houlder Bros. & Co. and took over the small coastal shipping company London Welsh SS Co. entirely. 1912 they bought George Warren's White Diamond SS Co. and changed its name them as George Warren & Co. to. In 1914 50% of the Johnston Line was bought .

In 1916, the well-known Prince Line was taken over and the South America line services opened. During this time the fleet comprised around 215 ships - mostly freighters. Furness, Withy & Co. Ltd. Measured by the number of ships, was by far the largest shipping company in the world.

In 1917 the Furness Shipbuilding Company was founded in Haverton Hill. In the same year, the Rio Cape Line was founded as a new subsidiary and in 1921 the Bermuda & West Indies SS Co. was founded. The Furness family had already withdrawn from the shipping company in 1919, but remained active in the newly founded shipyard. In 1922 the shipping company G. Warren & Co. was renamed Warren Line and the London Welsh SS Co. Ltd. sold. 1929 made the acquisitions of Cairn Line and the Red Cross Line , the Gulf Line but was disbanded and its vessels Bermuda & West Indies SS Co. transferred. During the same period, liner services to the US and Canadian Pacific ports were also opened via the Panama Canal .

After the collapse of the Royal Mail Line in 1931, Furness, Withy took over the shipping company Shaw, Savill & Albion Steamship Co. in 1933. In 1934, the remaining shares of the Johnston Line were bought and merged with the Warren Line to form the Johnston-Warren Line . The Neptune SN Co. was dissolved in the same year and its ships were transferred to the new shipping company. In 1937 50% of Royal Mail Line / Pacific SN Co. were acquired.

In 1965 the remaining shares in the RML / PSNCo-Group were bought. In 1968 the Houlder Line was acquired completely and in 1973 the shipping company Kaye, Son & Co. Ltd.

In 1970 the Furness, Withy empire consisted of the following shipping company park :

The changes in shipping brought about by the aircraft and the introduction of the container resulted in Furness, Withy & Co. Ltd. to economic problems. In the 1970s things went downhill continuously and in 1980 the company was taken over by the Hong Kong- based shipping company CY Tung.

Tung sold the shipping group in 1990 for around USD 170 million to the German shipping company Hamburg Süd . This deal only included a container ship and some liner services and the naming rights of the shipping companies bought by Furness, Withy .

Furness, Withy & Co. currently only has administrative tasks within Hamburg Süd.

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