IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Ocean Freight Rates and Economic Development 1730-1913


  • North, Douglass


Revolutionary developments in transport have been an essential feature of the rapiddevelopments in transportgrowth of the past two centuries. Reduction in the cost of carriage has enabled specialization and division of labor on a national and international basis to replace the relatively self-sufficient economies that predominated in the western world two centuries ago. The striking role of the railroad in the nineteenth century is well known. However, it was water transport in which the bulk shipment of commodities began, and it was the development of ocean shipping that was an integral aspect of die growing economic interdependence of the western world, the opening up of the undeveloped continents, and the promotion of the settlement of the “empty lands.†The declining cost of ocean transportation was a process of widening the resource base of the western world. The agriculture of new countries was stimulated (and that of old countries at least temporarily depressed), the specter of famine as a result of crop failure reduced, and the raw materials were provided for industrialization. In short, the radical decline in ocean freight rates was an important part of the redirection of the resources of the western world in the course of the vast development of die past two centuries.

Suggested Citation

  • North, Douglass, 1958. "Ocean Freight Rates and Economic Development 1730-1913," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 18(4), pages 537-555, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:18:y:1958:i:04:p:537-555_10

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: link to article abstract page
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:18:y:1958:i:04:p:537-555_10. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no bibliographic references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Kirk Stebbing (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.