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Maritime Business: A Paradigm of Global Business  

Gelina Harlaftis and Ioannis Theotokas

Maritime business is a paradigm of a global business. Its importance cannot be underrated as 90% of the world’s trade is at the present day carried by sea. In fact, the vast majority of the goods that form our daily lives depend upon the shipping industry. As ships sail in the seas and oceans of the world, and as ports are nowadays hidden away and not part of the everyday life of people in port cities, much of the shipping business is invisible and remains so to the mainstream business and management literature. Maritime business since, at least, the early modern period has evolved as a main factor for the communication and formation of the international and eventually global markets. Research in maritime business has evolved around the formation and transformation of shipping markets, the evolution of shipping firms and ship management, the effect of technology at sea transport and on its productivity and freight rates, on trends of the nationality of world fleet, and its denationalization or “flagging out,” on seafaring labor and risk at sea. A shipping firm is the economic unit that uses the factors of production to produce and provide sea transport services. It serves the world trade system which was consolidated in the 19th century, and the formation and organization of shipping firms followed the type of cargoes that had to be carried: first, bulk commodities carried in huge quantities like raw materials and second manufactured and packaged goods. The first type of cargo has been served by the tramp/bulk shipping companies and the second type by the liner/container shipping companies. Technology has been a watershed in the formation and transformation of the shipping firm. Five periods can be distinguished in the last two centuries in the evolution of the shipping industry and the shipping firm according to transformation of shipping markets and the introduction of new technologies: (a) up to the 1820s, (b) from the 1830s to the 1870s, (c) from the 1880s to the 1930s, (d) from the 1940s to the 1970s, and (e) after the 1980s. Until the last third of the 20th century Europe dominated the world fleet to be gradually replaced by the Asian fleets in the 21st century. Maritime business, is increasingly losing its “nationality” and is becoming global despite the fact that in sections of it there are powerful shipping families connected with certain nations. Shipping has always been a high-risk business, which, despite the evolution in many aspects of its operation, remains dependent on the acts of nature as well as on the acts of people, as the recent revitalization of piracy reveals.

Article

maritime loans  

Dominic W. Rathbone

In the ancient Greek and Roman worlds, centred as they were on the Mediterranean, maritime transport was far more practical than land transport for long- and even medium-distance trade. Most ships seem to have been of medium size (around 70 tonnes burden) and to have been owned and run by a shipper who both carried goods as freight and traded on his own account. There were also many individual merchants who hired shipping as needed for their ventures. Then as now, the major expense in trading was the investment in purchasing goods; roughly, one cargo of wheat was worth as much as the ship. Hence a merchant, whether or not also a shipowner, often needed third-party finance, for which, because of the peculiar risks involved, a special type of loan was used. This was the maritime loan—nautikon daneion in Greek, nauticum faenus or mutua pecunia nautica in Latin.The maritime loan is first attested in 4th-century bce Athens, in four speeches attributed to Demosthenes, of which the most informative is the prosecution of the brother of a pair of merchants for fraudulent default on a loan (Dem.

Article

annona (grain)  

Paul Erdkamp

Imperial Rome was by far the largest city of its time, and feeding its populace—about one million according to most estimates—required an ever-watchful eye on the part of the authorities. The system supplying Rome, the armies, and some other cities with grain and other foodstuffs came to be known as the annona. The Roman authorities began to intervene directly in the food supply of the city of Rome in the mid-Republican period. A momentous step in this development was the introduction of the grain distribution (frumentatio) by C. Sempronius Gracchus in 123 bce. In the Principate, the annona became a central feature of the relationship between the emperor and the capital’s inhabitants. At the end of Augustus’s reign the office of the annona came to be headed by a praefectus annonae, who had recourse to a staff of subordinates in Rome, Ostia, and Puteoli. Apart from the produce of the imperial estates, Rome collected tax grain primarily in Sicily, Sardinia, and Africa, and from Augustus onwards in Egypt; Rome was then largely sustained by this flow of public grain. The main responsibility of the praefectus annonae was to administer the transportation by means of shipping contracts from the grain provinces to Rome and to curb fraud and speculation on the grain market.

Article

lex Claudia, 218 BCE  

James R. Townshend

Sometimes referred to in scholarship as the plebiscitum Claudianum, the lex Claudia prohibited senators and their sons from possessing seafaring ships capable of carrying more than 300 amphorae. The only source that discusses the law is Livy (21.63.3–4). Livy reports that the law was proposed by a tribunus plebis, Q. Claudius, about whom nothing more is known. According to Livy, the consul-elect C. Flaminius(1) was the only senator to support the bill. Despite the bitter opposition of the senate, the law was nevertheless enacted (res per summam contentionem acta). Livy remarks that Flaminius’s support for the law generated hostility among the senators but won him the favour of the plebs and then a second consulship, which he began in 217bce. Flaminius’s first consulship had been in 223bce (with its own controversy), and he had served as censor in 220–219. The periocha of Livy, Book 20 indicates that the details of his censorship were covered in that book, including the reorganization of the libertini across the four urban tribes and the construction of both the Circus Flaminius and Via Flaminia.

Article

Southeast Asian Trade in a Global Perspective, from Antiquity to the Modern Era  

Derek Heng

Southeast Asia has been a critical nexus of the economic interactions between the Indian Ocean, China Seas, and the Pacific Ocean littoral. Trade and commerce developed from the early first to late second millennia involving shipping and commercial networks both within Southeast Asia and from further afield. Accompanying these networks were the region’s port cities, which held these networks together, pulling the subregional networks of trade and commerce into one regional economic sphere. The nature of trade and commerce was affected by the different ecological and economic zones of Southeast Asia. This in turn affected the types of products that were traded and the communications links that connected the different subregions to the outside world. In addition, economic interactions with regions further afield and the geopolitical changes that these regions underwent also determined the types of products that flowed into and through Southeast Asia, as well as the way in which commerce was conducted.

Article

Silver Trade and Transportation in the Spanish Atlantic  

Leonardo Moreno-Álvarez

Silver was the lifeblood of Spain’s early modern transatlantic empire. Transatlantic silver transfers affected the nature of shipping, credit, and trade in the Iberian Atlantic and, eventually, across the entire globe. Large-scale silver mining in Mexico and Perú began in the mid-16th century. To sustain trade and bullion transportation across the Atlantic, the Castilian Crown developed a convoy system known as the Carrera de Indias. This system of armed fleets that sailed between authorized ports on a regular schedule began in the 1560s and peaked between 1580 and 1620. During this period, Spanish silver peso coins of eight reales (known in English as pieces of eight) became a de facto international monetary standard because of their high proportion of high-purity metal. Silver circulated in the American colonies before departing for Spain, whether through trade or inter-colonial transfers. Bullion and coins also moved through channels beyond the Castilian monarchy’s control, most notably through unregistered remittances and unauthorized trade with other European interlopers. During the Habsburg era, the Castilian monarchy’s obligations to foreign bankers, particularly the Genoese, increased. By the 1650s, the convoy system’s efficacy, as well as the profitability of several mines, had significantly diminished. Although mining production slowly recovered during the second half of the century, silver smuggling out of Spanish American ports further reduced the volume of bullion remittances going through authorized channels. After 1720, the combined effect of administrative reforms, increased production in American mines, and the resurgence of Spanish power under the Bourbons revitalized transatlantic bullion transfers. The last peak in silver transfers from the New World to the Old began in 1780 and lasted until 1808, when the beginning of independence movements across the Spanish Americas dissolved the world’s largest monetary union. Estimates of the total volume of metal remittances and their effects on the global economy have been subject of historical debates for almost a century.

Article

Trade in the East and South China Seas, 600 CE to 1800 CE  

Tamara H. Bentley

In the period from 600 ce to 1800 ce, the countries bordering the East and South China Seas were in frequent maritime communication, sharing in the process cultural practices and commodities. This article focuses on Chinese trade, with some attention to Japanese, Korean, Ryūkyūan, and Southeast Asian trade as well. In the early 7th century, Chinese Emperor Sui Yangdi expanded Chinese diplomatic connections in a variety of ways and overtook central Vietnam. During the ensuing Tang dynasty, south and west Asian maritime traders dominated the importing of aromatics, rare goods, and foodstuffs into China and the westward export of Chinese goods such as ceramics and silks. South Chinese ports such as Guangzhou were thriving international emporia. In the Five Dynasties, Song, and Yuan periods, Chinese shipping increased, and trade between China and Japan, as well as between China and Koryŏ, Korea, flourished. At the start of the Ming dynasty, a maritime trade ban was enacted, which led to an increase in tribute trade to China (which was not banned), as well as a high degree of contraband shipping. In 1567 the Chinese ban was lifted, and a period of vibrant China Seas trade ensued, which included Japanese red seal ships to Southeast Asia and Korea, and an increasing number of European merchants. In the mid-17th century, the Zheng family played a major role in intra-Asian trade, negotiating for advantage with both Japan and Spain, and largely competing with the Dutch VOC. With the consolidation of Qing dynasty power, China reopened her ports in 1684 and eventually established a central location for European trade in Canton, while allowing for Asian trade from other ports.

Article

Public–Private Partnerships and Natural Hazards Governance  

Dane S. Egli

The level of interest in public–private partnerships (P3s) is growing—along with supporting literature—and applications are expanding to include new areas where industry supplements public investments in return for measurable rewards. In what follows are timely observations to support P3 operating principles for natural hazards governance—working as an integrated team, sharing innovations, solving technical and operational problems, and engaging in voluntary associations to creatively solve problems. P3s involve voluntary collaboration to achieve common goals and financial benefit. In a globalized economy with highly interconnected systems, this spirit of innovation, sense of personal responsibility, and vision for collective partnerships can be seen throughout the world in the application of P3s. The impact and efficacy of P3s is not just realized in the pursuit of economic, security, safety, social, and environmental goals, but also in establishing integrated governance policies to contend with the persistent vulnerabilities of natural hazards. The emerging world of P3s and natural hazards governance can be illustrated by three real-world examples: (1) a catastrophic regional natural disaster; (2) an urban research-study focused on the measurement of critical infrastructure resilience; and (3) a summary of transportation systems in the unique environment of maritime ports. From these case studies, and a diverse selection of references, it highlights key findings that will benefit future research, critical analysis, and policy application, including academic value, integrated participation, evidence-based metrics, smart resilience, and future innovation.