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Of the 32 ships of 20 knots and over belonging to British owners, 16 may be classed as ocean-going steamers. Of this class Germany possesses five, America four, and France and Russia two each.
Only the ships of these lines employed in the Atlantic trade are in the combine, and it is not practicable to give the number and tonnage of these, as they vary.
SUBSIDIES AND PAYMENTS TO SHIPPING.
Allowing for the increased payment to the Cunard Company of £150,000 a year instead of £26,256, it may be said that the British Government pays, or will pay, £1,127,145 per annum for services rendered by our shipping companies, as against £1,787,271 paid by France, £440,470 by Germany, £374.590 by Russia, and £346,266 paid by the United States. In consideration of the 150,000 a year, the Cunard Company, while holding their fleet subject to Government service, are also building two 244-knot (in moderate weather) ships under Admiralty supervision; and receiving a Government loan up to 2,600,000 at 2 per cent. interest for the purpose of building.
How these sums are apportioned, in the case of the three firstnamed countries, is shown in the accompanying table :
£1,127,145 £1,787,271 £440,470
"Other Services," in the case of this country, represents the difference between the former Admiralty subvention, 26,256 to the Cunard Company, and the proposed payment of £150,000 per annum to that company. In the case of Germany the £67,500 goes to the East African Steamship Company. But in the case of the German Steamship Companies it should be borne in mind that, while the German Government pays no postal subvention for Transatlantic services (aput from £69,917 and £10,000 in 1901 at ordinary mail matter rates), it pays the North German Lloyd Company 293,053 for carry ng the mails to India and China. On the other hand, the United States Government paid the North German Lloyd Company £20,116, and the Hamburg-American Company £7,0co for Transatlantic postal services, the White Star and Cunard Companies receiving between them £46,850 for similar services from the same source.
LLOYD'S SIGNAL STATIONS.
The Society of Lloyd's, incorporated by Act of the British Parliament and the Royal Assent of Her late Majesty Queen Victoria has, with the sanction of Parliament, the control and working of Signal Stations in Great Britain and Ireland and in various places abroad. Many foreign Governments have also recognised the advantage of reports from Signal Stations and Semaphores being universally collected and forwarded on identical conditions. These have arranged that reports from or to their Semaphores can be obtained or forwarded through Lloyd's.
Thus one universal system of receiving and transmitting reports extends over a wide area. The organisation of Signal Stations is made favourable for shipowners and merchants, and the commerce of the world in general. If, for instance, a shipowner, charterer, or consignee wishes to transmit an order to any vessel at any point where she may appear, one communication to Lloyd's is sufficient to ensure the message being given at any or all of these Stations.
The charges for forwarding information from or transmitting advices by means of Signal Stations are moderate. Shipowners, cha terers, merchants or consignees can obtain telegraphic intelligence with regard to any vessel in which they may be interested, or postal advices, if so preferred, or can transmit orders to such vessels by communication with Lloyd's.
Harbour and Dock authorities, Chambers of Commerce, Exchanges, and such Institutions that may require a large number of reports, can arrange with Lloyd's for receiving full and regular advices from Lloyd's Signal Stations on moderate terms. When a number of reports are taken a substantial reduction is made in the fees. Shipowners or others who wish to be supplied with reports of vessels from any Signal Stations are requested to communicate with the Secretary of Lloyd's, London, E.C.
The following is a list of Signal Stations from which reports can be obtained, or through which orders for vessels can be transmitted :—