Crisis and rescue, 1853–67

Freda Harcourt

in Flagships of Imperialism

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print July 2006 | ISBN: 9780719073939
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700761 | DOI:
Crisis and rescue, 1853–67

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This chapter discusses the financial crisis of P&O during the period 1853–67 and how it came out of it. To win a contract in 1853, P&O reduced its favoured average monthly rate of 6s 2d to 4s 6d, which increasingly becoming unsustainable and affected its finances adversely. The imperial demands from the British and Indian Governments seriously distorted its finances, and its operating expenditure was growing at a faster rate than its operating income. However, the American Civil War helped by increasing the demand for raw cotton from India and Egypt. But P&O was also threatened with competition from the Compagnie des Services Maritimes des Messageries Impériales (MI) of France and the British India Steam Navigation Co., Ltd (BI). P&O however was admired for its services during the Abyssinian Expedition and finally with the help of Scudamore, it reached an agreement with the Government to work in partnership for 12 years.

Keywords: P&O; financial crisis; Abyssinian Expedition; MI; BI; American Civil War

Chapter.  15890 words. 

Subjects: Colonialism and Imperialism

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