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FOREIGN TRADE TONNAGE OF THE WORLD'S TEN GREATEST SEAPORTS New York is in the lead as a world harbor. Besides having the greatest tonnage in foreign trade, New York
has a larger coastwise trade than any of the other great seaboard cities of the world
national utility of the port of New York is institution. Harvester machines and the new Hell Gate bridge, connecting the binder twine from Chicago, barbed wire lines of the New York, New Haven & from Pittsburg, lubricating oil from Hartford Railroad with those of the Penn- Rochester, automobiles from Detroit join sylvania and Long Island System. This the sewing machines of Elizabeth, the connecting bridge will give direct rail copper of Perth Amboy, and the shoes or connections to New England for the buzzing aggregation of factories in the Brook
Billions of lyn district. Long Island City, within
36 sight of the Hell Gate bridge, has already grown almost over-night into a district of
32 well lighted, fireproof factories, and the growth still continues. When the South 28 Brooklyn Marginal Railroad is constructed from Brooklyn Bridge south along the
24 waterfront to a junction with the connect
20 ing railroad for the Hell Gate bridge route there will undoubtedly be a great industrial 16 development along its line. The longest pier in New York Harbor, more than 1,800
12 feet long, is now under construction on the
8 line of this railroad for the Luckenbach Steamship Co. In the same districts a new pier is being built for use by the United States Steel Products Company for handling "1850 1860 1870 1880 1890 1900 1910 the innumerable products exported by the United States Steel Corporation.
THE GROWTH OF WORLD COMMERCE It takes only a stroll among the piers of
Total imports and exports of all nations combined, the freight lines docking at these great by decades, since 1850. A suggestion of what Brooklyn waterfront freight terminals to
America's foreign commerce may be twenty years
hence is contained in the tremendous increase from see that New York Harbor is a national
1900 to 1910
cotton goods from New England on a is sufficient volume of business to justify personally conducted tour to the far cor- full cargoes of raw materials inbound and ners of the earth. Though the exporter of finished products outbound. The small who is manufacturing his product hundreds exporter, however, cannot charter tramp or even thousands of miles away from the steamers for his own use. He must de spire of the Woolworth Building may not pend upon numerous sailings, preferably of
THE TERRITORY TRIBUTARY TO NEW YORK BY WATER TRANSPORTATION The shaded states around the Great Lakes will find it cheaper to obtain Pacific Coast lumber by way of Panama and the new Barge Canal than by rail haul overland. Manufactured products from many of the central states can, in like manner, be shipped to the Pacific Coast more cheaply by way of the Panama Canal than by all-rail haul, even though the goods must first journey eastward by rail before going west by water
realize his dependence on the port of New ships on regular lines, in order to give the York, nevertheless there is scarcely a rapid and frequent service which his cussingle element which improves in any way
tomers in foreign countries will expect. the facilities of the port of New York which There are many other arguments for does not react to the assistance of thou- having one great harbor as compared with sands of exporters scattered over the whole having the export business divided be eastern half of the continent. It is par- tween a number of smaller ports. Freight ticularly the smaller manufacturers who shipments are inherently subject to unexobtain the greatest benefit from New pected delays, so that it is not always posYork's harbor. A large fertilizer works sible for freight shipped hundreds of miles can be located, if desired, at Newport overland to catch a certain steamer. Many News and have good service in so far as of the American ports other than New export trade is concerned, provided there York have only one steamship line to certain ports in, say, South America or value in dollars of New York's imports Australia, and the sailings cannot be as over a series of years has not been so very frequent as with the larger tonnage moving different from the value of the exports. through the port of New York. If an Since Galveston's tonnage is mostly in the export railroad shipment from an inland exporting of cotton the freight values show point happens even slightly to miss one that the exports from Galveston are worth, of the steamers of this one line it may mean roughly, forty times as much as the ima delay of some weeks or a month before ports, thus indicating that the actual there is another steamer sailing for the tonnage of freight at Galveston is not well desired port. But should a railroad ship- balanced and that the harbor cannot bement to a steamship line in New York come as desirable as New York's for the happen to miss the intended steamer, conducting of a national clearing house other ships of the same line are likely to for foreign trade. New York's supremacy depart so soon thereafter as to involve a among the maritime cities of the United much shorter delay than would occur at States is already so well established that any other port of the country. Then there is no question as to which port is there is a possibility of having the freight the best on the Atlantic seaboard in which shipped over a different steamship line to establish an export branch or carry a having a sailing to the same port within a stock of goods for the export trade. New few days, thus making the delay almost York is already the one truly national negligible. A universal port with a great port, and the question now is how to imnumber of lines radiating from the one prove the facilities of that port so that city is thus an advantage to all shippers better service can be rendered to the Nation. and especially to those of inland manufacturing districts.
NEW YORK VS. FOREIGN PORTS Another kind of advantage is this: The necessity for this improvement Many a manufacturer in the interior can appears immediately if one studies the maintain an export manager in a New York enormous growth in tonnages to be handled, branch house and give his export trade or if one compares the improvements that much more careful supervision than it can are being made in competitive ports receive if managed from the factory head- abroad. By referring to the diagram on quarters alone. Stocks of goods can be page 213 it will be seen that the value carried on hand at New York warehouses of the commerce of the whole world just so that export orders can be filled promptly about doubled from 1890 to 1910. The and sometimes leave on a ship within two tonnage in the foreign trade of New York days after the order is received. In no Harbor doubled from 1900 to 1914. Though other seaport of this country is there such this is a good record for New York, if excellent opportunity for serving the we consider the opportunities which have export trade in these respects.
existed it would seem that the growth in Still another advantage that New York foreign trade might have been vastly offers the exporter results from the great greater had carefully worked out policies diversity of products which it handles. of harbor management been followed This diversity practically eliminates sea- consistently since the beginning of the sonal fluctuations in the volume of goods present century. Consider
century. Consider what the handled, and the consequent steadiness of city of Antwerp has done. Antwerp is activity tends to lower the cost of doing not nearly so well situated as New York business and thereby lower the charge from a foreign trade standpoint, and most which the port must levy on its commerce. of its harbor space had to be dredged Compare, for instance, Galveston's ton- from cow pastures about ten feet above nage, which is growing tremendously, water level. The River Sheldt was having about quadrupled since 1900. closed by treaty up to 1863, so that comGalveston's trade is very largely in cotton, merce at Antwerp really began in that year. with much more freight moving in some Yet between 1863 and 1912 Antwerp came seasons of the year than in others. The to second position as a world port, despite its great natural handicaps of a crooked natural resources for a mess of pottage? river, tremendously expensive dredged Should we not rather, as Great Britain docking space, and a relatively small has done, try to bring the raw materials population which in 1912 was less than of other nations to our principal port, that of New Orleans, Cincinnati, or to be sold to the manufacturing nations Newark. And yet, notwithstanding these of all the world—thus making New handicaps, Antwerp's consistent policy of York a world market like London-and commerce promotion brought the city to so earn a brokerage profit on them? an enviable position even though it did not Or, when our own manufacturers buy have among its exports the great natural re- them, a manufacturing profit as well? sources which have entered so largely into It is by such a process that the products the trade outward bound from New York. of the Orient and of the newly developed
This last point suggests still another con- districts of South America and Africa sideration in the problem of New York's largely find their way to certain seaports in utility to the Nation. When looking the Northern Hemisphere which act as ahead to estimate New York's chances the market places to supply the various for the future as a world market-place, it civilized nations. To facilitate this promust be remembered that our exports have cess and to secure the attending profits, been very largely made up of natural re- the Port of London Authority has a buildsources which are irreplaceable. We are ing devoted entirely to the storage, disshipping complete cargoes of petroleum play, and sale of ivory tusks. Another products and coal. Manufactures of iron building is reserved for rubber. Liverand steel, which enter largely into the pool's tobacco warehouse, owned and export tonnage, are frequently in such operated by the Mersey Docks and Harbor crude form as steel rails, on which the Board, serves as a market-place for Ameramount of labor is relatively slight as ican tobacco; and John Bull is enough of a compared with the value of the material. merchant to carry a stock of twenty-five Thousands of tons of copper are sent out millions' worth of American tobacco in this in ingot form to be transformed in the building. The tobacco is all in casks just workshops of Europe. Lumber, too, is as shipped from Kentucky. It would be shipped in bulk; and so it goes, down the a very interesting study to determine line of products. Though our tonnage just why it happens that this tobacco is and values have been vast, when we come purchased in England and stored at to make comparisons with the various Liverpool for resale rather than held, say, ports of Europe it must be remembered in New York and shipped to different that there is a day of reckoning coming and countries as required. There must be we may not always be able to spare un- money in it for England: why not for us? limited quantities of our gifts of Nature European ports have earned profits which now enter so largely into our foreign by acting as transfer points for American trade. Comparing our exports and our freight which is shifted from one line of imports, it is easy to see that the former ships to another much as one changes are largely made up of natural resources cars at some railroad junction. Before and the imports which we take in exchange the war began one could see at the docks are composed largely of luxuries, such as of Liverpool lots of five hundred tons of wines and silks, or of highly finished American paper being transferred to a manufactured products like Turkish rugs, line of steamers to Australia. On the Irish laces, German toys, Japanese curios, piers of Hamburg could be seen caterpillar or Swiss watches. Our foreign trade has traction engines made in Illinois awaiting been like Topsy, it has “just growed,” and opportunity to be loaded on to a ship bound chiefly because the European nations for ports in China.
for ports in China. Consider the many wanted our crude materials in exchange disadvantages of handling such heavy for their excess output of highly finished goods far off the direct route. And products involving much labor. Would yet neither New York Harbor nor the it not seem as though we are trading our United States is getting the good of this business which rightfully belongs to them By comparison, both London and Liverin the shipping of American products pool are handicapped in the size and directly from our own factories to the final characteristics of their harbors. Thus consumer. And it should not be forgotten, London is located on an inadequate river either, that even though the carriers do requiring much dredging of docking space not fly the American flag, if they sail on to obtain modern steamship terminals. direct lines between New York and the Liverpool is tremendously handicapped by a ports of the world where goods are pur-, tide of more than 30 feet which necessitates chased, and insure regular and rapid vast expense in the construction of closed delivery, it will greatly aid in increasing dock basins and gates to hold the water the quantity of goods we can sell to the in the basins when the tide recedes. The non-manufacturing countries. Anything tide at New York, on the contrary, is which will assist in bringing new lines of almost negligible and, since the whole steamers to New York will benefit the harbor is in one area, lighters may be used whole Nation's foreign trade.
in the transfer of freight from pier to pier, In estimating New York's opportunity as contrasted with Liverpool, where the for leadership as a world market, it seems closed dock system prohibits the transfer fairly obvious that the chief competitors of goods from pier to pier or from pier to are Liverpool, London, Antwerp, and warehouses except by vehicles, causing a Hamburg. The two latter cities are at correspondingly higher cost. New York present so closely involved in the war Harbor has more than 450 miles of water situation that it is impossible to pre- front available for pier construction. In dict what may be the outcome. Many so far as space is concerned, there is ample of the German merchant ships were cap- room in New York Harbor for the combined tured by England at the beginning of the dockage space of any five of the main seawar, but even before the war the tonnage ports of Europe. of merchant ships under the British flag
NEW YORK'S HANDICAPS was three fourths of that of all the rest of the nations put together. It looks, then, Looking at New York's handicaps, it as though London or Liverpool will make must be remembered that the English by far the strongest bid for acting as the seaports have a great advantage in the clearing house for the world's goods. race for first position as a world market
for the reason that Great Britain's vast NEW YORK'S NATURAL ADVANTAGES
foreign colonies are peopled with a large What, then, are the relative advantages percentage of the whole world's populaand disadvantages of New York as com- tion. With British-owned ships sailing pared with London and Liverpool? In under the British flag to British colonies the first place, New York Harbor is so well the chances are very greatly in favor of the situated and has such natural advantages raw materials of the colonies being carof shape and almost unlimited size that ried back to England as the storehouse these characteristics make it the logical from which the other nations will be supworld's clearing house for shipping. In- plied with the raw material or quite likely stead, for instance, of cocoa from near-by with the finished product turned out of Santo Domingo going to England and then British factories. Great Britain has albeing resold to Scandinavia (as sometimes ways been a builder of trade. Its banking now happens), there would seem to be good affiliations alone would be sufficient to opportunity for the cocoa to come here in transfer the products of British colonies large quantities for storage and ultimate to England instead of to America, all other sale to other nations as needed. The same things being equal. Though the war might be said of South American rubber will undoubtedly have an effect on Engand innumerable products from the dif- land's financial status, it is certain that ferent countries which have not highly that country will make a tremendous effort developed banking, manufacturing, and to retain her position in foreign commerce. merchandising.
Looking again at New York's hopeful