Commentary on the papers of Loyen and Van de Laar
In his pioneering work on British ports, Gordon Jackson commented thattransport systems though they might appear to have a certain permanence have nevertheless been in a state of almost continuous evolution for the best part of two centuries (Jackson 1983, 10). One of the most striking examples of this continuous evolution has been the changing configuration of the port provisions of north-west Europe. While the period down to 1914 witnessed the rise to pre-eminence of major UK ports such as London, Liverpool and Hull, these “gateways to Europe and the wider world”, as contemporaries liked to call them, have declined fitfully since 1918. However, even as these gateways were approaching their relative peaks in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the European ports that were soon to eclipse the British trading centres were beginning to develop rapidly. Antwerp and Rotterdam were at the fore of this “continental” development. Located on deep, navigable rivers, with easy access by river, rail and road to an industrial hinterland that was far more extensive and populous than even the “workshop of the world” could offer, Antwerp and Rotterdam possessed many advantages in the changing economic environment of the twentieth century. In this setting, throughput, or transit traffic, to and from the interior emerged as a dynamic sector of the business of both ports.
KeywordsEurope Shipping Hull Dock Estima
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- Jackson G (1983) The History and Archaeology of Ports. TadworthGoogle Scholar