The Valley Steamship Company
THE VALLEY STEAMSHIP COMPANY
THE traffic on the Great Lakes is a most important factor in national prosperity, as it makes the coal of the Pittsburgh region accessible to the people and the industries of the lake States, places the iron ore resources of the Upper Michigan and Minnesota ranges in reach of the mills and industries of the great steel-making centers, and conveys the great grain product of the Northwest to the distributing markets in the Central West and the great ports of the Atlantic seaboard.
The volume of lake transportation has grown with the development of the great industrial centers of the Middle West and Northwest, and engages the attention of strongly organized firms and companies owning and operating steamships of large size and great capacity, especially adapted to the carrying of bulk freight on the Great Lakes and their tributaries.
One of these important enterprises is that of The Valley Steamship Company. The business was originally established at Cleveland by W. H. Becker and was incorporated under the laws of the State of Ohio on March 30, 1908, the present officers of the company being W. H. Becker, president and treasurer; W. D. Becker, vice-president and general manager, both of Cleveland; J. A. Donaldson, of Pittsburgh, Pa., vice-president; C. A. Williams, of Cleveland, secretary; and these officers, with J. P. Walsh, of Pittsburgh, and A. T. Kinney and Frank Seither, of Cleveland, form the Board of Directors.
The management of the company is able and from its inception it has transacted a steadily growing business in the transportation of bulk cargoes to and from the American and Canadian ports of the Great Lakes. The fleet owned by the company consists of nine steel steamships especially built and designed for carrying bulk freights on :he Great Lakes, and this fleet is busily engaged in the various branches of bulk freight transportation—carrying ore from the loading ports for the various iron ranges of Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin to the distributing ports, at which these cargoes of ore are loaded into cars to supply the 0-maces which turn these ores into steel. On re- rmn voyages these vessels take back cargoes of coal to supply the needs of the Northwest by laying in a supply of fuel in those States (which have no coal of their own), in sufficient quantity to stock them up before the lakes freeze over and the navigation season closes.
In the late months of the season the steamships are busy bringing out the grain crops of the Northwest (where the finest wheat in the world is grown) and bringing it to the Lake Erie ports (principally Buffalo), whence it is forwarded by rail or canal to the Atlantic Seaboard for exportation. The Great Lakes are therefore the highway of the greatest shipments from the most productive iron mines in the world, and also for carrying the products of the world's greatest granary for international distribution.
The Valley Steamship Company, which has an authorized capital stock of $1,700,000, has had a career of continuous success. The capital stock was $1,160,000 until February, 1917. The company had paid a 4 per cent cash dividend in January of that year, and on February 10, 1916, it paid a stock dividend of 45 per cent, increasing the outstanding capital stock to $1,690,000, and upon that increased capital it paid 12 per cent in 1917, and has continued to pay like dividends.
The management is able and efficient both in its financial and operative activities. The constant activity in the mining, steel and grain industries, due to the heavy call for all necessities created by the war conditions, has made the lake business particularly active during the war period, which activity continues as the demand for these com-modities still remains unappeased.
Mr. W. LI. Becker, president and treasurer, has a thorough and practical knowledge of this important branch of the transportation business, and by ably executing the policy of the company has secured it a most substantial position among the lake transportation companies. Mr. W. D. Becker, vice-president and general manager, has supervision of the operative details of the com-pany's fleet. He is a director of the Lake Carriers' Association, and is well known as one of the men who through that organization and by personal effort have greatly promoted the lake-carrying trade.