The battle of the ports

Friday, May 2 – 1924
One of the keenest struggles in the history of commercial development is that in which Liverpool and Southampton are now engaged. The issue will decide which of the two deserves the title of premier passenger port of England. How close the race is likely to be may be gathered from the fact that of the total passenger traffic now dealt with at English ports, Liverpool handles 33 per cent., and Southampton 32 per cent.

A reference to this vigorous competition was made at a luncheon on Thursday on board the Homeric, a huge ship of the White Star Line, which has been absent from the Atlantic passenger service since last November, while having converted for the use of oil fuel at Messrs. Harland and Wolff’s yard at Belfast. She returns to the New York run next week. Her home port will be Southampton.

The Mayor of Southampton (Alderman Mouland), proposing success to the Homeric, uttered a friendly challenge to Liverpool. He declared that the ambition of Southampton was not only to obtain the first place as a passenger port of the Kingdom, but also to have “a good cut in” at the cargo traffic.
Sir Herbert Walker, of the Southern Railway, said that as Southampton had “mopped up” all the big passenger ships he thought there was a good chance of getting more cargo traffic, which would justify the railway developments his company had already made. He believed Southampton could be made into a great cargo port. They had now nearly all the important British passenger lines running into Southampton, and would not be satisfied until they had also a very big cargo trade, though they could hardly oust Liverpool from the first position. The new floating dock would be of great benefit to the big shipping companies, to the port of Southampton, and, he hoped, to the Southern Railway.
(Western Gazette, 02-05-1924)

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