Source: Lloyd’s List. Adapted from Ducruet C. (2012) Ports et routes maritimes dans le monde (1890-1925), Mappemonde, 106. Notes: Ports having a traffic of more than 10,000 tons.
The period between 1890 and 1925 underlines the dominance of the steamship as a support to global trade with its diffusion to ports across the world. 1890 marks a threshold, with steamship services becoming competitive for distances above 16,000 km. This placed Asia within reach of steamships, particularly after the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869. Still, steamship services show a high level of concentration around industrialized clusters for both periods. While only two notable clusters are active around 1890, the North Sea and the American Northeast, by 1925, several additional clusters have emerged. One concerns the American West Coast, which has expanded its industrialization by opening the Panama Canal in 1914 and by an oil extraction boom. Another involves Argentina, which at that time was going through a period of prosperity, including a phase of European immigration, and accounted for one of the world’s highest GDP per capita. At that time, Buenos Aires was rivaling other metropolises such as Paris, London, and New York. The activity in South Asia was linked with the British colonial trade. This also included Australia, which at that time was becoming an important exporter of agricultural goods. The fast industrialization of Japan as an outcome of the Meiji Revolution was also becoming apparent.