Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The end of the Blue Funnel Line

The Blue Funnel Line rebuilt after the Second World War, but the fifties and sixties were to be the last great decades of this company, as the winds of change were blowing.

The most significant of these was the switch to containerisation, which required huge capital expenditure to invest in new ships and new port facilities. That meant that shipping lines had to work together, to create new lines in which Blue Funnel were just shareholders.

Then Blue Funnel was itself changing. It had lost its family connections with the retirement of the last Holt or Hobhouses and become a new life as public limited company, corporate, open to take overs, looking at short term balance sheets and managing risk.

It merged with other companies, spreading its expertise more thinly, and eventually its fragments were bought by a range of other companies including P&O and DHL.

The company founded by Alfred Holt (above) is now just a memory.

But there are many books on the subject for those that are interested, as will be blogged tomorrow.

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