Almost a century ago, C. Ernest Fayle characterized maritime transport as ‘the world’s key industry’.2 Indeed, maritime transport has been the main driver of trade growth and hence of the emergence and expansion of a global economy. Shipping not only served to integrate world markets, it was the international business par excellence in most national economies and preceded trends that later became visible in many other sectors of international economic activity. In consequence, an international and comparative perspective should be a central ingredient in both maritime history and maritime economics.3 For anyone interested in the growth and development of the world’s economy, knowledge of the history and mechanisms of shipping provides important insights.


Business Group Economic History Shipping Industry Freight Rate Maritime Transport 
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© Gelina Harlaftis, Stig Tenold and Jesús M. Valdaliso 2012

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