Discussion Paper Series in Economics, Department of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics (NHH)
Jan Tore Klovland
Navigating through torpedo attacks and enemy raiders: Merchant shipping and freight rates during World War I
Abstract: During World War I ocean freight rates rose to
extraordinary levels. Using a new monthly dataset it is shown that freight
rates can be well explained by economic activity, commodity prices, war
risk and world tonnage in the period 1912 to 1916. In the first two years
of the war part of the British merchant fleet was directly controlled by
the Government but neutral shipping was basically free to operate as
normal. In this period neutral shipping accounted for about one third of
British imports. In the final two years of the war a much stricter regime
of freight control was introduced that resulted in the withdrawal of a
large proportion of neutral shipowners from British and Allied trade.
Together with the mounting losses of tonnage due to the German submarine
campaign this created an acute shortage of carrying capacity and reduced
imports. It is argued that the policy of freight control may have rested on
a misconception of the role of freight rates as a source of the high
wartime in ation.
Keywords: Freight; rates; (follow links to similar papers)
JEL-Codes: E31; N14; N74; (follow links to similar papers)
36 pages, May 25, 2017
Before downloading any of the electronic versions below
you should read our statement on
for viewing Postscript files and the
Acrobat Reader for viewing and printing pdf files.
Full text versions of the paper:
Questions (including download problems) about the papers in this series should be directed to Dagny Hanne Kristiansen ()
Report other problems with accessing this service to Sune Karlsson ()
or Helena Lundin ().
Design by Joachim Ekebom