COMPANIA TRASATLANTICA— SPANISH ROYAL MAIL LINE
COMPANIA TRASATLANTICA— SPANISH ROYAL MAIL LINE
THE ocean route from Spain to the Americas was, beginning with the discovery by Columbus, almost monopolized by Spanish vessels for a century or more, and since that time has been constantly traversed by Spanish ships. Spain preponderated so greatly in American discovery and trade that the waters of the Atlantic within some hundreds of miles of the American coast were long known as "The Spanish Main." Spain, as the mother country of South and Central America, still has a very great commercial relationship to this continent, and among its most important steamship lines is that of the Compania Trasatlantica, operating thirty-one steamships in overseas trade, with regular service between New York and Spain, Spain and South America, Spain and Central America, and other lines from Spain to West Africa and the Philippine Islands. In New York, the company has a branch office looking after the interests of the line in this country, and this office, which is located at Pier 8, East River, is under the supervision of Captain Luis Llanso, as general agent of the line.
The home office of the company is in Barcelona, and its president is the Marques de Comil- las, than whom the Spanish maritime interest has no more prominent and representative figure. The question of transportation by sea is an important one in Spain, as in the other great commercial countries, and there has recently been a substantial revival in the shipbuilding industry in Spain, and a substantial addition has been made in the Spanish merchant marine, chiefly in ships built for the benefit of the Compania Trasatlantica.
The progress of the merchant marine of Spain has been largely developed as a consequence of the policy which is now pursued of giving direct aid from the Government to the merchant marine of Spain. In the early part of the nineteenth century the only assistance given by the Government to the merchant marine was of indirect character, chiefly consisting of a restriction in the law of the coastwise trade of Spain to Spanish vessels. In 1861 the Government made a mail contract with the Compania Trasatlantica, and ever since the Government has paid postal subsidies. The Government has also added other methods of encouragement to the Spanish merchant marine, and Spain now rivals France, Italy and Japan in the extent of Government aid so given.
The company's fleet consists of steamships of modern build, of which the most notable and largest are two magnificent 15,400-ton transatlantic liners, the "Reina Victoria Eugenia" and the "Infanta Isabel de Borbon." These two vessels are replete with every modern convenience and facility for the comfort and accommodation of passengers. These vessels have a full electrical equipment. The staterooms are spacious and elegant and the personal service given to passengers is thoroughly trained, efficient and courteous. There is no line which is a greater favorite with travelers who have tested its quality.
The route taken by the Spanish line from New York is a direct one to Barcelona, on steamships which have just come from Vera Cruz and Havana; and from Barcelona there is a direct connection by rail with France by well-equipped modern trains.
The freight service of the company is also thoroughly efficient, the Compania Trasatlantica issuing through bills of lading to all commercial points in the countries to which its excellent service extends. The line, to many of the Spanish- American ports, possesses advantages which are not offered in equal degree by any competing line.
The Compania Trasatlantica operates seven distinct lines, including the New York, Cuba and Mexico service to Barcelona; the line to the Philippine Islands; the line to Venezuela and Colombia the line to Buenos Aires; the line to the Canary Islands; the Brazil-Plata line; and one to the Gulf of Guinea. Except the Brazil-Plata line, all of these lines operate from Barcelona as their base port, that to the Philippines operating between Barcelona, Cadiz, Las Palmas, Cape Town, Durban, Colombo, Singapore, and Manila.
The line between Barcelona and South America, known as the Venezuela-Colombia line, stops at the ports of Valencia, Malaga, Cadiz, Las Palmas, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Santa Cruz de la Palma, Porto Rico, Porto Plata, Havana, Port Limon and Colon, Sabanilla, Curacao, Porto Ca- bello, La Guayra, etc. The Buenos Aires service includes the carriage of freight and passengers from Barcelona, Malaga, and Cadiz direct to Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Montevideo, and Buenos Aires. The Canary Islands line operates from Barcelona, Valencia, Alicante, and Cadiz, to Tangier, Casablanca, Mazagan, Las Palmas, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Santa Cruz de la Palma, and points to the west coast of Africa. The Brazil-Plata line runs from Bilbao, Santandar, Gi- jon, Coruna, Vigo, Lisbon, and Cadiz, direct to Rio Janeiro, Santos, Montevideo, and Buenos Aires. In all of these South American ports the ships of the Compania Trasatlantica are among the most familiar and most warmly welcomed that visit those coasts.
Besides the "Reina Victoria Eugenia" and the "Infanta Isabel de Borbon," the fleet of the Compania Trasatlantica includes the "Alfonso XII," 6,748 tons; the "Antonio Lopez," 5,975 tons; the "Manuel Calve," 5,617 tons; the "Buenos Aires," 5,205 tons; the "Montevideo," 5,205 tons; the "Alfonso XIII," 4,818 tons; the "Reina Maria Cristina," 4,818 tons; the "P. de Satrustegui," 4,671 tons; the "Leon XIII," 4,640 tons; the "Montserrat," 4,147 tons; the "Legazpi," 4,059 tons; the "C. Lopez y Lopez," 4,046 tons; the "Alicante," 4,032 tons; the "San Carlos" and "Santa Isabel," each 2,295 tons.
The vessels engaged in the Barcelona-New York service are the "Alfonso XIII," "M. Ar- nus," "Christobal Colon," "Magellanes," the three latter having been recently built, and the company are having four vessels built for delivery in 1920, which will, in the aggregate, add to the fleet 14,000 tons. The company has estab-lished a regular passenger service to Barcelona, and it is proposed to establish direct steamship communication by a fast steamship line between New York and Vigo, which will shorten the journey to Spain considerably, and to other parts of continental Europe will be twenty-four hours quicker than by other lines going to Irish Sea or British Channel ports.
There is a very gratifying increase in the trade and industry of the Kingdom of Spain, and in connection with this increase a very important factor is the growth of commercial relations between
Spain and the United States. The volume of this trade is constantly increasing, with a growing demand for the excellent products of Spain in this country and with the recognition on the part of Spain of the great importance of America as a source of large quantities of raw materials and many manufactured goods, which America is best able to supply.
The popularity of the line of the Compania Trasatlantica with passengers going to Europe has been maintained because of the quality of the vessels used, the excellence and even elegance of the appointments of the vessels, the unsurpassed service and the many ways in which the company has endeavored to cater to the comfort and enjoyment of the ocean voyage, this being especially true with regard to the higher-priced stateroom suites, which equal the accommodations afforded by the finest and most exclusive hotels of the principal cities of Europe, and America.
The freight service of the company has grown steadily, reflecting the enlarged commercial relations between Spain and the Americas, both the New York and the South American lines from Barcelona showing a decided and gratifying increase in the tonnage used, and the volume and value of the freights carried. The thirty-one vessels now in service, including those specifically named above, aggregate 140,000 tons, and constitute by far the most important fleet of merchant vessels flying the Spanish flag.
Captain Luis Llanso, the general agent of the line, has had a long and active experience in the merchant service, and under his direction the business has grown and the popularity of the line with shippers as well as with passengers has been established upon the firmest basis.
During the war period the business of the New York line of the Compania Trasatlantica was very large because of the comparative immunity which it afforded for escape from the submarine menace by taking this direct route to Barcelona. With peace the importance of the line becomes even greater because it reaches so many important- ports, and under the able management of Captain Llanso the continued popularity and success of the New York branch is assured.