Industry Slump Confirmed as Britain's Oldest Shipowner Liquidated

By MarEx 2012-08-09 11:35:41

Stephenson Clarke Shipping Ltd., Britain’s oldest shipping firm, has officially gone into liquidation. The nearly 300-year-old company has fallen to the worsening global slump of the industry.

Established in 1730, the company had tried to sell its ships and cut costs in the face of falling rates for dry bulk shipping on which it relied - transporting cargoes such as coal, grain and iron ore, reports Reuters. Liquidator Tait Walker was appointed on about a week ago.

A representative from Stevie Clarke, as the firm was often recognized, stated that the current market is one of the worst experienced for many years with no upturn forecast for at least 12 to 18 months. The company sold its last ship in July.

Around the same time, lawyers for Deiulemar Shipping, a major Italian dry freight group, said they were looking to wind up the company to prevent formal bankruptcy after prosecutors seized more than half of its fleet.

Brothers Ralph and Robert Clarke started the firm during King George II’s reign based on their sailing interests. The company thrived during Britain's industrial revolution, shipping coal from its base in Newcastle and later expanding to ship other commodities including grain, fertilizers and steel in northern Europe, the Mediterranean and West Africa.