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Aspects of Corporate Finance: Inter-firm Lending

 | 
Michel Lescure
, 
Michael Moss

Inter-firm credit in maritime Europe. Greek-owned shipping business, 19th and 20th centuries

Gelina Harlaftis

Texte intégral

Introduction

  • 1  For the continuation of the primacy of Europe in world shipping in the 20th century see Michael Mi (...)
  • 2Ibid. There is also a large bibliography on the big British shipping companies. For a recent overv (...)

1The aim of this paper is to indicate the use of inter-firm credit in the international maritime business network of the Greeks during the 19th and 20th centuries. Greeks in the South of Europe provide a prime example of the evolution of Maritime Europe and of the regional European maritime businesses to serve the global economy.1 Research in European shipping business has not so far highlighted enough the presence of shipping businesses in specific small-scale loci, port-cities and islands, which have acted as cradles for the development of small-, medium- and larger shipping firms. The business environment of these small ports triggered regional development and through their business networks articulated the connectivity to larger financial and commercial centres. Whether in Britain or Norway, in Spain or Greece, the vehicle of shipping was the European shipping enterprise, which played a key role in the promotion of regional and intercontinental trade and economic development of global shipping and ultimately the global economy. The focus of most studies, however, dealing with shipping business has traditionally been on the developed northern countries and on liner shipping companies, with little interaction with southern European counterparts on tramp shipping.2

  • 3Review of Maritime Transport, New York and Geneva: UNCTAD, U.N., 2015. For Greek shipping see Geli (...)

2Inter-firm credit that ran to the end of the 20th century in the Greek maritime business network, has been an embedded element of the operation and management and ultimately its success in world shipping. During the second half of the 19th century, Greeks owned the most important shipping companies of the eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea carrying grain from East to West. During the second half of the 20th century Greek shipping companies were able to surpass the British gigantic shipping companies of the previous period and remain the most dynamic merchant fleet of Europe to the present day carrying bulk cargoes on a global scale. In fact, Greek shipowners own the world’s biggest fleet presently with at least 16% of world tonnage and have remained in this top position for the last 45 years.3 This has been a fleet whose modern origin stems from the 18th century and has achieved remarkable growth particularly during the first and second wave of globalization in the second half of the 19th and second half of the 20th centuries.

  • 4  Gelina Harlaftis and Ioannis Theotokas, “European Family Firms in International Business: British (...)
  • 5  Gelina Harlaftis and John Theotokas, “Maritime business during the twentieth century: continuity a (...)
  • 6  Martin Stopford, Maritime Economics, London, Routledge, 1997.

3Greeks during the two centuries under examination were involved in tramp shipping. Historically, tramp shipping, the part of the industry which carries bulk cargoes on demand, consisted of multiple small family companies which were either too difficult to research or else considered marginal.4 Tramp ships also did the “dirty work” of carrying cargoes like coal, fertilisers, minerals, grain, cotton, or oil.5 They carry more than two thirds of world sea-trade and their importance is highly significant in the running of the world economy. The distinction of the shipping market into two categories, liner and tramp shipping started gradually to develop during the last decades of the 19th century. The shipping markets were divided according to the type of cargo and ship. Liner ships carried general cargoes (finished or semi-finished manufactured goods) and tramp shipping carried bulk cargoes (like coal, ore, grain, fertilizers, oil, etc.). Furthermore, liner shipping carried cargoes on regular routes, and tramp shipping on demand. Maritime economists like to call liner ships the “buses” and the tramp ships the “taxis” of the oceans.6 Specialisation of markets thus led to specialisation of shipping firms in serving these two markets.

  • 7  Gelina Harlaftis, Creating Global Shipping the Vagliano Brothers and the bussiness of shipping, c.(...)

4The Greek case forms a remarkable example of successful inter-firm credit that has continued, at least, to the end of the 20th century. The particularity of Greek shipping is that it grew serving not one nation, but many Empires and nations in a volatile and changing political environment. It is a cross trader serving third countries. For its survival it developed its own unofficial institutions within its entrepreneurial network. These are international firms acting in many countries; they are not based in one country. In this way they have been described as a form of family multinationals. Late 20th century Greek-owned global shipowning groups emerged as corporate firms with a distinct family character.7

5The case of Greek shipping will be analysed along the following five stages which distinguish the evolution of the European shipping firm focusing more on the period after 1880s. The five stages of the evolution of the European shipping firms are:

  1. up to the 1820s;

  2. from 1830s to 1870s;

  3. from 1880s to 1930s;

  4. from 1940s to 1970s;

    • 8  G. Harlaftis, “Shipping” in Teresa da Silva Lopes, Christina Lubinski and Heidi Tworek (eds), The (...)

    and after 1980s.8

Up to the 1870

  • 9  The Ionian Islands up to 1800 were under Venetian conquest; after becoming a semi-autonomous state (...)

6The development of the Greek shipping firm followed the path of the European shipping firm. Until 1820s European shipping was carried out on the one hand by the big chartered colonial companies, that is companies that were involved in trade, shipping finance and free traders. The latter were usually. Greek merchant captains as free traders became established as the most important shipowners of the Eastern Mediterranean. The shipowners of the islands of the Ionian and Aegean seas, whether under Ottoman, Venetian, French, Russian or British control, operated their sea trade in a borderless and economically integrated maritime area.9 The fact that Greek shipping companies from the Ionian and Aegean seas developed fleets engaged in the long-haul trade of the Mediterranean competing successfully against the French, the Spanish, the Italians and the British during the 18th and 19th centuries, confirmed that they were competitive. The competitiveness of an economic sector proves its ability to supply goods and services in a market with efficiency and at a low cost.

  • 10  Gelina Harlaftis and Katerina Papakonstantinou (eds), Η ναυτιλία των Ελλήνων. H ακμή πριν την επαν (...)

7The competitiveness of the Greeks lay in the formation of international entrepreneurial networks that expanded from the Black Sea to the western Mediterranean and northern European seas and provided efficient low-cost services.10 The entrepreneurial networks of the Greeks consisted of two axes. The first one was the shipping companies that provided the shipping services and were based on about 40 Ionian and Aegean islands. These were all maritime centres in their own right as they provided seamen, ships, shipbuilding, ship provisions and supplies, information and finance from local island merchants and shipowners. The second one was Greek Diaspora trading companies.

  • 11  Jones introduces a typology on British trading companies and suggests three network based organiza (...)
  • 12  G. Harlaftis, Creating Global Shipping…, op. cit.
  • 13  Gelina Harlaftis and Ioannis Theotokas, “European Family Firms in International Business: British (...)
  • 14  These networks I named “Chiot” and “Ionian” back in 1993; see Gelina Harlaftis, « Εμπόριο και ναυτ (...)
  • 15  Particularly Ralli Brothers. See G. Jones, Merchants to Multinationals…, op. cit.
  • 16  See also Richard Roberts, Schroders. Merchants and Bankers, London, Macmillan, 1992.

8Diaspora trading companies secured their cargoes from the production areas, mainly grain, from the East and particularly from the Black Sea – that developed as the granary of Europe from the end of 18th century to the beginning of the 19th century- and directed them and sold them to the West, through the main Western European ports. They were principally network firms11 and can be regarded as “proto-multinationals”.12 Networks are based on the formation of an unofficial institutional framework that minimizes entrepreneurial risk and provides information flow. They allow for the establishment of transnational connections based on personal relations, bypassing official market mechanisms. In this way, networks can be viewed as governance structures for coordinating economic decisions.13 Greek diaspora trading companies originating from the island of Chios (about 60 firms during 1820s-1860s) and from the Ionian Islands (about 140 during 1870s-1900s) were the most important ones, with leading companies the Ralli Brothers and Vagliano Brothers.14 The latter based in London have been often described in the literature as British trading companies.15 It is known that trading companies were until the end of the 19th century involved in a tripartite activity of trade, shipping and finance; they specialised as traders, bankers or shipowners mainly in the last third of the 19th century.16

  • 17  Katerina Galani, “The Galata Bankers and the international banking of the Greek business group in (...)
  • 18  Pierre Gervais, « Crédit et filières marchandes au xviiie siècle », Annales. Histoire, sciences so (...)

9The Greek Diaspora trading firms proved pivotal for the evolution of Greek shipping. The most important of them were also major exporters of the Russian Empire. They established themselves in Constantinople and London. In Constantinople, the main financial and economic centre of the Levant, they were known as the “Galata Bankers”, who were involved in money changing, tax farming and financing the Ottoman Empire’s internal debt.17 Apart from this, however, their main job was in trade and shipping and in acceptance of bills of exchange from the members of the Greek entrepreneurial network. In London, the biggest financial and economic centre of the world, an important Greek merchant community was established; there they opened accounts with the Bank of England in the 1840s. As the literature makes clear, these were firms who were creditworthy, had access to financial institutions and acted as intermediaries for financial services to the hundreds of Greek shipping companies of the Aegean and Ionian Islands to whom they lent money that no one else would lend.18 The Greek Diaspora group of families was formed by financially strong families established in the main European port cities that provided inter-firm credit to the small and weaker shipping firms of the eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. For example, the largest shipowners and trading companies of the second half of the 19th century, the Vagliano Brothers became part of Europe’s top bankers, collaborating with other merchant banking houses from either Taganrog or Odessa to St. Petersburg, to Constantinople, Paris and London.

10They performed banking services by

  1. cashing bills of exchange for a commission;

  2. transferring money on commission;

  3. providing mercantile and shipping loans with interest;

  4. depositing clients’ money in banks around European cities;

  5. lending money for the purchase of ships, cargoes, or other investments to its members;

  6. buying and selling currency on commission, and

    • 19  G. Harlaftis, Creating Global Shipping..., op. cit.

    buying and selling state bonds on commission.19

  • 20  There are detailed archives of the first decades of the establishment of Greeks in the South in th (...)

11In this way Greek shipping firms had both access to local island resources for short term maritime credit as the thousands of notarial archival documents prove, and to the large Greek trading houses established in Odessa, Constantinople, Marseille, London, Vienna, Paris and elsewhere.20

  • 21  Stanley Chapman, The Rise of Merchant Banking, London, Allen & Unwin, 1984, pp. 127 and 173.
  • 22  G. Harlaftis, Creating Global Shipping…, op. cit.

12In his analysis of merchant banking, Stanley Chapman considers the Greeks as one of the groups that formed the core of London merchant banking, especially from the 1820s to the 1870s, building up the “unsullied business in acceptances”.21 Among the foreign big merchant bankers of the City that developed its large international financial market were, for example, the German Schröders and the Kleinworts, the Jewish Rothchilds and Cohens, the Greek Rallis and Vaglianos. The Vagliano Brothers as bankers in the City of London were comparable with Schröders and the Rothchilds by the 1880s. Although the Rothchilds with their involvement in government lending carried out two or three times more transactions than the Vaglianos (in London), in 1881 they were very close behind Rothchilds (in London) transacting ten million sterling pounds and the Vaglianos eight million. That same year the Schröders were only at four million. The Vagliano merchant banking activities were entirely comparable with Schröders.22 All Vaglianos’ banking transactions, and those of all Greek diaspora merchants were basically inter-firm credit as was the case of all accepting houses of their time that functioned within certain entrepreneurial networks.

From 1880 to 1930

13Inter-firm credit in shipping within the entrepreneurial network until 1910 proved successful for three reasons. Firstly, Greek trading companies invented a method to overcome the lack of ship mortgage law in the Greek legal system. Secondly, they provided finance for not only their co-islanders but for all Greek shipping firms from the Aegean islands and Ionian islands something that did not happen in the previous period. Thirdly, by providing finance through their offices they proved pivotal for the transition of the investments of sailing shipowners to the new technology, tramp steamships.

  • 23  G. Harlaftis, A History of Greek-Owned Shipping…, op. cit., chapter 4.

14The only type of maritime finance permitted under Ionian and Greek law was the shipping loan; shipping loans in Greece, after 1850, were written on a special book of the ship, the so-called “libretto”. Shipping loans were short-term with high interest. In fact, shipping loans at the beginning of the journey were almost an integral part of shipping. The master needed money to prepare the ship for the next journey and in most cases had to borrow to supplement the cash available: the ship always needed small repairs, new equipment and foodstuffs. These loans were usually contracted for a few months and the interest was high in the 1840s varying between 2 and 2.5 per cent per month (24-30 per cent per year).23 The high interest rates were justified by the high-risk nature of shipping. The loans were not guaranteed by mortgages and the loss of the ship took with it all contracted loans.

  • 24Ibid. For more recent research based on abundant evidence from notarial archives of the island of (...)
  • 25  Ralph Davis, The Rise of the English Shipping Industry in the 17th and eighteenth centuries, Londo (...)

15Sailing ships in the 19th century were purchased by Greek shipping firms through joint partnerships usually of related families.24 Joint ownership characterised 19th century Greek sailing ship ownership. This pattern had long been common in many countries; one can easily compare the joint ownership practices of the Greeks, British, Norwegians, French or Spanish. Similarly, co-ownerships with strong local island or kinship ties and merchant family networks were not unique to Greek shipping in the 19th century. The system of co-ownership, for example, continued to operate in Spain and Scandinavia throughout the 1860s and 1870s and also, contrary to previously held beliefs, in the coastal traffic and tramp shipping of England. Equally, family or common port of origin played an important role in the structure of the Norwegian and Atlantic Canadian shipping firms until the beginning of the 20th century.25

  • 26  G. Harlaftis, “From Diaspora Traders to Shipping Tycoons: The Vagliano Bros”, Business History Rev (...)
  • 27  1 piaster = 0.23 francs in 1850s.
  • 28  G. Harlaftis, Creating Global Shipping…, op. cit.
  • 29  G. Harlaftis, A History of Greek-owned Shipping…, op. cit., pp. 144-146.
  • 30Ibid., table 4.13.

16Three reasons explain shipowning partnerships in Greece: insufficient capital to build a ship; the necessity to spread the risk involved, and the need for an outlet for residual capital where several vessels are controlled. Traditionally, the partners were related, or they at least came from the same island. One lea­ding company, the Vagliano brothers made the first breakthrough on a massive scale.26 What the Vaglianos did was to provide finance to masters lower case and aspiring sailing shipowners of the Ionian and Aegean islands and put the sailing vessel under their own name, until the repayment was made. For example, Andrea Vagliano in 1850 established in Constantinople, granted a loan of 30,000 piasters27 (or 6,900 French Francs) to the Cephalonian shipowner Spyridon Metaxas-Laskaratos on 0.5 percent monthly interest (an annual 6 per cent) to supplement his capital and enable him to purchase a ship. As a guarantee to the loan, the Cephalonian shipowner “was obliged to sign a document which put the ownership of the ship on his [Andrea’s] name in good faith, and this is what happened”.28 The brig was thus purchased for the amount of 90,000 piasters (or 20,700 French Francs) and it would be transferred to the name of the shipowner when he ultimately repaid the debt. This became the usual inter-firm credit practice among both Diaspora trading companies and the merchant-financiers of the Greek Islands, who both financed the transition to steamships until 1910 when the mortgage on ships was finally legally institutionalized.29 In fact, almost the entire financing of sail to steam from the 1880s took place through inter-firm credit from Greek trading companies and shipowners’ own capital and not from banking institutions.30

  • 31Ibid., pp. 194-203.

17The new technology of steamships destroyed the old structure of regional maritime centres that built the ships themselves and operated them through the regional maritime clusters and island business groups in collaboration with the trading companies. The sheer sizes of traded goods demanded specialisation in shipping. In this transitional period, Greek trading companies specialized in shipping and evolved to what became known among the Greeks “the London offices”, a hybrid form of shipowning ship-management office. There was one “London office” until 1890s; by 1937 there were seventeen such London offices handling 45 percent of the Greek-owned fleet.31 These London offices acted as agents of hundreds shipping firms of the Greek Islands of the Ionian, Aegean and Black Sea providing maritime finance, chartering, sales and purchase services.

  • 32  This has been estimated by the shipowner Nikolas B. Metaxas, cited in Andreas Lemos, The Greeks an (...)

18The first Greek London shipping office was that of the Vagliano Brothers which lasted from 1858 to 1903. The system of providing ship finance to an aspiring shipowner, by becoming a temporary owner of the vessel to guarantee the repayment of the loan, was a system based on trust. As this kind of loan – using collateral – was illegal under Greek legislation, loans from Greek or foreign banks for such purchases were ruled out. This method was followed by the Syros merchants and other Diaspora traders and allowed the transition to steam to take place in the Greek fleet. It was the Vagliano Bros then who granted loans at 7-8 percent interest for the purchase of steamships; the lenders secured in cash half the sum demanded and mortgaged the ship by becoming the ship’s owners. As the loans from the Vagliano office were 1 percent higher than the official interest rate of the Bank of England, it has been estimated that the office’s profit from each came to 14 percent of the sum lent.32 This system was followed at least until the eve of the Second World War by all Greek London shipping offices.

  • 33  David Souden, The Bank and the Sea. The Royal Bank of Scotland Group and the Finance of Shipping s (...)
  • 34  Youssef Cassis, City bankers, 1890-1914, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1994, p. 193. See (...)
  • 35  G. Harlaftis, A History of Greek-owned Shipping…, op. cit., pp. 98, 145-146.

19But it was also during this period that Greek shipowners started using reluctantly and slowly banks for transactions and finance, although it was really after World War II that this practice took over the mainstay of Greek shipping finance. During the first half of the 20th century tapping of resources for ship finance came almost exclusively either from own capital and/or inter-firm credit on ship guarantee. Greek shipowners also started to use for their transactions and possibly short-term credit banks specialising in shipping like Westminster Bank, Midland Bank or the Royal Bank of Scotland.33 It is interesting to note that at the beginning of the 20th century, members of the Greek Diaspora trading houses started working at such banks as CEOs, like Emmanuel Michael Rodocanachi (1855-1932),34 or they contributed to creating banks, like the Bank of Athens.35

From 1940 to 2000

  • 36Ibid., pp. 270-271.
  • 37  I. Theotokas and G. Harlaftis, Leadership in World Shipping…, op. cit., table 3.1, 59; G. Harlafti (...)

20If in 1938 the number of Greek shipping offices in Piraeus, London and other cities numbered around 250, in 1958 they exceeded 350, by 1975 they topped 800, and by the end of the 20th century numbered more than 1,000.36 Greek-owned shipping in 1975 was the world’s largest maritime power with more than 3,000 ships and about fifty million gross registered tonnage in total.37 Ιn the period after 1945, most of the Greek London offices were transformed into global shipowning groups, such as the Embiricos Brothers, Kulukundis Brothers, Livanos Brothers, Goulandris Brothers, Chandris Brothers and so on. One should note that all the latter families had more than three generations of experience in the maritime business, with the Kulukundis and the Embiricos having at least seven generations of experience. Apart from the transformation of the Greek London offices to global operators, many of the small family firms of the interwar years became large internationalised businesses. The spectacular growth of the Greek-owned fleet in the post-war period was also marked by the entry of a considerable number of new dynamic companies. New entrants like Aristotle Onassis, who entered the shipping business in the 1930s, led the way in tanker shipping and opened to shipping other financial markets, apart from London, notably the American banks.

21This stage is characterized by the globalisation of the Greek shipping companies. A large number of them during the Second World War who moved to New York, started using offshore companies and flags of convenience and got access to American finance; they were “multinationals” of a national character however. They still used mainly Greek seafarers at sea and in their offices. Such global shipping companies mostly engaged in tanker shipping along with those of the Greek London offices involved in bulk dry cargo shipping, co-existed until the last third of the 20th century when they formed in Piraeus, their own maritime centre, where they still are. The great strength of Greek shipping has been its reproduction and low concentration in big companies. Hundreds of SMEs entered/enter business particularly during periods of crisis when ship prices are low. Inter-firm credit has been extremely important for the entrance of new shipping companies.

  • 38  Ioannis Theotokas, « Μέθοδοι και ιδιαιτερότητες στην οργάνωση και διοίκηση των ελληνόκτητων ναυτιλ (...)

22This method was in essence the financing of the new shipowner by an older and stronger shipping company. A significant number of businesses acquired their first ship in this way and correspondingly a significant number of businesses financed buyers of their ships. For example, maritime economist Ioannis Theotokas, based on a sample of fifty firms, found out that four businesses during the 1970s, using their own capital and a loan from the ship’s seller, bought their first ship and commenced business. In parallel, another four businesses declared that they applied this method in selling their ships. That is, this alternative method was applied by 16% of the sample of fifty businesses examined.38 This method of financing and entering the market was for new and financially weak shipowners who came from the ranks of Greek-owned shipping, either as officers in the mercantile marine or as management personnel of shipping businesses. The prospects for the new shipowner were more favourable than if the capital had come from a bank, since the deadlines for repayment were extended when difficulties appeared in the market. So, it has been calculated that in the 1990s 25% of new entries were financed by inter-firm credit. Shipmasters, ship-engineers, employees of shipping companies would buy second hand vessels from their previous employers and would pay-off the vessels over certain agreed periods of time. The transactions were based on trust. In this way, inter-firm credit, that co-existed with banking finance, provided funds for new entrants in shipping that would not have been financed otherwise.

Conclusion

23The case of Greek shipping has proved that inter-firm credit has been essential in the success, survival and ‘reproduction” of their shipping fleet, an industry that has been the biggest in the world for the last almost 50 years. From the 19th century to mid-20th century inter-firm credit and own capital was almost exclusively the main source of finance. In the second half of the 20th century despite the fact that international banking finance became the main source of credit, inter-firm credit continued to be used to support the weaker companies or new entrants. The latter, in many cases have been the seedbed for the reproduction of Greek shipping companies. In this way, Greek shipping, following the European and its own tradition, has been among those that have kept Europe at the top of world shipping. In fact, the leadership of the North, led particularly by Britain by the end of the 19th century, was replaced by the South, by Greeks, by the end of the 20th century. They were able to create global shipping companies, that while not attached by the structure and activities of their business to a particular nation, kept a strong national character in their personnel. By the end of the 20th century, they had formed their own maritime centre in Piraeus where they kept the main agencies of their global business. Throughout their progress from the 19th century to the end of the 20th century, they used inter-firm credit within their maritime entrepreneurial networks as a foundation for new investment and continuation or creation of new shipping businesses.

Notes

1  For the continuation of the primacy of Europe in world shipping in the 20th century see Michael Miller, Europe and the Maritime World: A Twentieth-Century History, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2012.

2Ibid. There is also a large bibliography on the big British shipping companies. For a recent overview see B. Gordon Boyce, “The Growth and Dissolution of a Large-Scale Business Enterprise: The Furness Interest 1892-1919,” Research in Maritime History 49 (St. John’s, Newfoundland: International Maritime Economic History Association, 2012): pp. 70-103.

3Review of Maritime Transport, New York and Geneva: UNCTAD, U.N., 2015. For Greek shipping see Gelina Harlaftis, Greek Shipowners and Greece, 1945-1975. From Separate Development to Mutual Interdependence, London, Athlone Press, 1993; Gelina Harlaftis, Α Ηistory of Greek-Owned Shipping. The Making of an International Tramp Fleet, 1830 to the present day, London, Routledge, 1996; Ioannis Theotokas and Gelina Harlaftis, Leadership in World Shipping: Greek Family Firms in International Business, London, Palgrave/Macmillan, 2009.

4  Gelina Harlaftis and Ioannis Theotokas, “European Family Firms in International Business: British and Greek tramp-shipping firms”, Business History, 46 (2) April 2004, pp. 219-255.

5  Gelina Harlaftis and John Theotokas, “Maritime business during the twentieth century: continuity and change”, in Costas Th. Grammenos (ed), Handbook of Maritime Economics and Business, London, Lloyd’s of London Press, 2002, pp. 9-34.

6  Martin Stopford, Maritime Economics, London, Routledge, 1997.

7  Gelina Harlaftis, Creating Global Shipping the Vagliano Brothers and the bussiness of shipping, c., Aristotle Onassis: 1820-1970, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2019.

8  G. Harlaftis, “Shipping” in Teresa da Silva Lopes, Christina Lubinski and Heidi Tworek (eds), The Routledge Companion to Makers of Global Business, London, Taylor & Francis Group, 2019.

9  The Ionian Islands up to 1800 were under Venetian conquest; after becoming a semi-autonomous state for a number of years, in 1815 they became a British protectorate and in 1864 part of the Greek state. The Aegean Islands were under Ottoman Empire until the formation of the independent Greek state in 1830, when western and central Aegean became part of Greece. Before and after the Balkan wars, Crete (in 1908) and north-eastern Aegean Islands (1912) were united with Greece while the south-eastern Aegean Islands became part of Greece in 1947.

10  Gelina Harlaftis and Katerina Papakonstantinou (eds), Η ναυτιλία των Ελλήνων. H ακμή πριν την επανάσταση, 1700-1821 [Greek Shipping, 1700-1821. The Heyday before the Greek Revolution], Athens, Kedros Publications, 2013; G. Harlaftis, A History of Greek-Owned Shipping. The Making of an International Tramp Fleet, 1830 to the Present Day, London, Routledge, 1996.

11  Jones introduces a typology on British trading companies and suggests three network based organizational forms. See Geoffrey Jones, Merchants to Multinationals. British Trading Companies in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2000, p. 160.

12  G. Harlaftis, Creating Global Shipping…, op. cit.

13  Gelina Harlaftis and Ioannis Theotokas, “European Family Firms in International Business: British and Greek tramp-shipping firms”, Business History 46 (2), April 2004, pp. 219-255.

14  These networks I named “Chiot” and “Ionian” back in 1993; see Gelina Harlaftis, « Εμπόριο και ναυτιλία τον 19ο αιώνα, το επιχειρηματικό δίκτυο των Ελλήνων της διασποράς, η ‘χιώτικη’ φάση (1830-1860) » [“Trade and Shipping in the nineteenth century. The Entrepreneurial Network of the Diaspora Greeks, the “Chiot” phase (1830-1860)”], Μνήμων [Mnemon] 15, 1993, pp. 69-127; and also, in G. Harlaftis, A History of Greek-owned Shipping…, op. cit., pp. 39-69. For the Greek merchants in England see also Maria Christina Chatziioannou, “Greek merchants in Victorian England”, in Dimitris Tziovas (ed), Greek diaspora and migration since 1700. Society politics and culture, Abington, Routledge, 2016, 2nd edition, pp. 45-60. See also Katerina Galani, « Η Ελληνική κοινότητα του Λονδίνου τον 19ο αιώνα. Μια κοινωνική και οικονομική προσέγγιση » [“The Greek Community in London in the nineteenth century. A Social and Economic Approach”, Ιστορικά [Istorika] 63, April 2016, pp. 43-68.

15  Particularly Ralli Brothers. See G. Jones, Merchants to Multinationals…, op. cit.

16  See also Richard Roberts, Schroders. Merchants and Bankers, London, Macmillan, 1992.

17  Katerina Galani, “The Galata Bankers and the international banking of the Greek business group in the nineteenth century”, in Edhem Eldem, Vangelis Kechriotis, Sophia Laiou (eds), The Economic and Social Development of the Port-Cities of the Southern Black Sea Coast, Late 18th - Beginning of the 20th century, Black Sea History Project Working Papers, vol. 5, Ionian University, Corfu 2016, http://www.blacksea.gr.

18  Pierre Gervais, « Crédit et filières marchandes au xviiie siècle », Annales. Histoire, sciences sociales, 4, 2012, pp. 1011-1148; Robert A. Schwartz and David K. Whitcomb, “The Trade Credit Decision” in James L. Bicksler (ed), Handbook of Financial Economics, Amsterdam, North-Holland, 1979, pp. 257-273; Janet Kiholm Smith, “Trade Credit and Informational Asymmetry”, Journal of Finance, 42 (4), 1987, pp. 863-869; Joseph E. Stiglitz, Andrew Weiss, “Credit Rationing in Markets with Imperfect Information”, American Economic Review, 71, 1981, pp. 393-410.

19  G. Harlaftis, Creating Global Shipping..., op. cit.

20  There are detailed archives of the first decades of the establishment of Greeks in the South in the state Archives of Odessa and Rostov-on-Don. See Evrydiki Sifneos and Gelina Harlaftis, “Entrepreneurship at the Russian Frontier of International Trade. The Greek Merchant Community/Paroikia of Taganrog in the Sea of Azov, 1780s-1830s” in Viktor Zakharov, Gelina Harlaftis and Olga Katsiardi-Hering (eds), Merchant ‘Colonies’ in the Early Modern Period (15th-18th Centuries), London, Chatto & Pickering, 2012, pp. 157-180.

21  Stanley Chapman, The Rise of Merchant Banking, London, Allen & Unwin, 1984, pp. 127 and 173.

22  G. Harlaftis, Creating Global Shipping…, op. cit.

23  G. Harlaftis, A History of Greek-Owned Shipping…, op. cit., chapter 4.

24Ibid. For more recent research based on abundant evidence from notarial archives of the island of Spetses, see Alexandra Papadopoulou, « Ναυτιλιακές επιχειρήσεις, διεθνή δίκτυα και θεσμοί στη σπετσιώτικη εμπορική ναυτιλία, 1830-1870. Οργάνωση, διοίκηση και στρατηγική » [“Maritime businesses, international networks and institutions in the merchant shipping of the island of Spetses. Organisation, Management and Strategy”], Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, Ionian University, Corfu, 2010.

25  Ralph Davis, The Rise of the English Shipping Industry in the 17th and eighteenth centuries, London, National Maritime Museum, pp. 82-83; Sarah Palmer “Investors in London Shipping, 1820-1850”, Maritime History, vol. 2, 1973, pp. 46-68; Helge Nordvik, “The Shipping Industries of the Scandinavian Countries, 1850-1914”, in Fischer and Panting (eds), Change and Adaptation, pp. 137-139; Roland Caty et Élianne Richard, Armateurs Marseillais au xixe siecle, Marseille, Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie de Marseille, 1986, pp. 45-46; Jesús Valdaliso, “Spanish Shipowners in the British Mirror: Patterns of Investment, Ownership and Finance in the Bilbao Shipping Industry, 1879-1913”, International Journal of Maritime History, vol. 5, no 2, December 1993; Eric W. Sager with Gerald E. Panting, Maritime Capital. The Shipping Industry in Atlantic Canada, 1820-1914, Montréal, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1990, chapters 4 and 7; Robin Craig (ed), “British Tramp Shipping, 1750-1914” in Research in Maritime History, no 24, Newfoundland, St` John’s: International Economic History Association, 2003. As all authors point out the vessel’s ownership was divided among a number of individuals, generally merchants and mariners. Co-ownership and/ or partnerships with shares on a ship were also a usual practice in all Greek maritime centres. See G. Harlaftis, A History of Greek-Owned Shipping…, op. cit., chapter 4.

26  G. Harlaftis, “From Diaspora Traders to Shipping Tycoons: The Vagliano Bros”, Business History Review, vol. 81, no 2, Summer 2007, pp. 237-268.

27  1 piaster = 0.23 francs in 1850s.

28  G. Harlaftis, Creating Global Shipping…, op. cit.

29  G. Harlaftis, A History of Greek-owned Shipping…, op. cit., pp. 144-146.

30Ibid., table 4.13.

31Ibid., pp. 194-203.

32  This has been estimated by the shipowner Nikolas B. Metaxas, cited in Andreas Lemos, The Greeks and the Sea. A People’s Seafaring Achievements from Ancient Times to the Present Day, London, Cassell, 1970, p. 157.

33  David Souden, The Bank and the Sea. The Royal Bank of Scotland Group and the Finance of Shipping since 1753, Norich, RBS, 2003.

34  Youssef Cassis, City bankers, 1890-1914, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1994, p. 193. See also Maria Christina Chatziioannou and Gelina Harlaftis, “From the Levant to the City of London: Mercantile Credit in the Greek International Commercial Networks of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries”, in Philip L. Cottrell, Even Lange and Ulf Olsson (eds), Iain L. Fraser and Monika Pohle Fraser (co-eds), Centres and Peripheries in Banking. The Historical Development of Financial Markets, Ashgate, 2007.

35  G. Harlaftis, A History of Greek-owned Shipping…, op. cit., pp. 98, 145-146.

36Ibid., pp. 270-271.

37  I. Theotokas and G. Harlaftis, Leadership in World Shipping…, op. cit., table 3.1, 59; G. Harlaftis, “Τhe Greek Shipping Sector c. 1850-2000” in Lewis R. Fischer and Even Lange (eds), International Merchant Shipping in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries: The Comparative Dimension, 37, International Maritime Economic History Association, St` John’s Newfoundland, 2008, pp. 79-103.

38  Ioannis Theotokas, « Μέθοδοι και ιδιαιτερότητες στην οργάνωση και διοίκηση των ελληνόκτητων ναυτιλιακών επιχειρήσεων, 1969-1990 » [“Organizational and Managerial Patterns of Greek-owned Shipping Companies, 1969-1990”], ph. thesis, Piraeus, University of Piraeus, chapter 6; I. Theotokas and G. Harlaftis, Leadership in World Shipping…, op. cit.

Auteur

Gelina Harlaftis, Director of the Institute of Mediterranean Studies of the Foundation of Research and Technology-Hellas (FORTH) since 2017, is Professor of Maritime History in the Department of History and Archaelogy of the University of Crete. She has graduated from the University of Athens and has completed her graduate studies in the Universities of Cambridge (M.Phil.) and Oxford (D.Phil.). She was President of the International Maritime Economic History Αssociation (2004-2008). In 2009 she was a Visiting Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford University, and in 2008 an Alfred D. Chandler Jr., International Visiting Scholar in the Business History Program, Harvard Business School. She has published 25 books in English, Canadian and Greek publishing houses and more than 50 articles in edited volumes and international peer-reviewed journals.

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