TROSDAL, PLANT & LAFONTA
TROSDAL, PLANT & LAFONTA
THE growth of American participation in international trade is the most significant fact of recent commercial history. It is so strongly illustrated by the expansive influences at work in New York that New Yorkers are apt to view the development as a purely local manifes-tation. But this is by no means true. In proportion to former conditions many of the other ports of the country have had a corresponding development.
There are many reasons why the enlargement of exports and imports has been distributed so as to cover practically all the available ports of the country. One of the first of these is that the great volume of receipts and shipments has outgrown the capacity of the wharves, warehouses and harbor facilities of any one or any small group of our American ports. Another is, that congestion at a few ports cripples the ability of our railroads to handle freights to and from the interior. Furthermore shippers, in and out, have gained a fuller realization of the economy and efficiency of the shorter haul, and the improvement of harbors on all our coasts have made many more of them available for the uses of commerce. Therefore commodities and products may safely seek the nearest port for shipment, and a growing realization of their availability as ports has given great impetus to expansion and progress in various coast cities.
The revival of overseas trade therefore has been the means of opening up the principal ports of all our coast sections to greatly accelerated commerce, and among the rest the Atlantic and Gulf ports of our Southern States have experienced an especially gratifying growth.
Men of practical experience in overseas shipments have not been slow to realize the importance of covering business at several ports, and of firms of this kind that of Trosdal, Plant & La- fonta is one that begins its career under especially favorable conditions. Its chief offices are at 230 St. Charles Street, New Orleans, and 50 Broad Street, New York, and has branches and connections at practically all of the Atlantic and coast ports of the Southern States.
The firm is composed of E. S. Trosdal, George
Plant, Albert R. Lafonta and Harold Le Jeune, who became associated under their present firm name on July 1, 1919, after each of the members had, in other connections, had successful careers in the shipping business. The southern ports have enjoyed a rapidly developing business during the last decade, beginning, before the war period, with the increasing availability of these ports due to the nearness to the Panama Canal. For many cargoes using the Canal, great savings may be effected by using the Gulf cities as points of departure.
Many southern products such as cotton, cottonseed oil, oil-cake, lumber, naval stores, rice, petroleum products and vast numbers of others out of the productive wealth of the South are now shipped to Europe direct from southern ports, and during war time these products and others were largely shipped direct to the allied and neutral countries of Europe. While some of the trade secured during that period was primarily routed from southern ports as a matter of military convenience, experience showed advantages in direct commerce to and from those ports that have established the routes as permanent and possessed of many advantages.
Of the steamship lines which have made for themselves increased trade and secured its permanence are the Churchill Line of Savannah, Georgia, and the South Atlantic Steamship Line, both of which are practically controlled by the firm of Trosdal, Plant & Lafonta. That firm of general steamship agents and brokers has the ac-tive management of the business of these lines, the Churchill Line operating out of Savannah, and the South Atlantic Steamship Line plying from the various Gulf ports. The Churchill Line is one of the oldest established lines now operating from southern ports and does a very large overseas business with its own and chartered tonnage. Its recent development has been largely due to the very efficient work of Mr. E. S. Trosdal, who has been very active in its affairs for several years and is now at its head, as well as at the head of the South Atlantic Steamship Line. The latter company is engaged in a direct fast freight service to Europe from various southern ports, a service which is growing because of the demonstrated efficiency and reliability it has developed.
No firm in the steamship agency business has better facilities for serving the needs of southern shippers to overseas points, its control of vessels enabling it to assure the prompt dispatch of freights to all principal European and other overseas destinations. All of its members are active and enterprising shipping men, familiar with shipping problems and possessed of the requisite knowledge of shippers' needs and of every service detail in connection with ocean transportation of cargoes of all kinds.
Mr. E. S. Trosdal, who is a native of Chris- tiania, Norway, came to the United States in 1898 and has for the entire twenty-one years of his residence here been actively identified with export and shipping business. In Savannah, Georgia, where he went soon after landing on our shores, he made rapid advancement, first in its naval stores business on the export side, and afterward in shipping, becoming identified with the S. B. Shotter Company and the American Naval Stores Company. He was wonderfully efficient in the building of the export business in naval stores, and in the creation of an independent shipping business as an important adjunct to the shipping business in naval stores and the creation of the South Atlantic Steamship Line, which was effected in 1905. He assumed the active management of that line in 1908, and while its efficiency as an adjunct of the naval stores export business was kept up, he also enlarged its business in the carrying of general cargoes, not only from Savannah, but also from the various Gulf ports. The line continued to develop under Mr. Trosdal's direction, and since 1913 he has been its president. In 1915 he became interested in the Churchill Line, which had long been established in Savannah, and that line was incorporated when Mr. Trosdal became identified with it. He was vice-president of that company for four years, and in 1919 was elected its president. The strong position held by Mr. Trosdal in the shipping circles of Savannah was evidenced by his election as president of the Savannah Maritime Association. He also has banking and other interests in Savannah, but for the past year or more has spent the greater part of his time in New York City, where he has his office at 50 Broad Street, and where he looks after the business of the firm and the two shipping companies of which he is the executive, and also has various other interests in and near New York.
Mr. Trosdal's associates in the firm of Trosdal, Plant & Lafonta are all men of special experience in and qualifications for the steamship business. Mr. George Plant, who was born in New Orleans, started as a junior in a steamship office twenty-two years ago and has been in the steamship business ever since. He has a wide, acquaintance in the steamship circles of the Crescent City and is known as one of the leaders in the maritime affairs of that port.
Mr. A. R. Lafonta has also established a prominent place for himself as an efficient representative of steamship interests in New Orleans, of which city he is a native son. His service in steamship offices has been continuous for twenty-four years, and no steamship man in New Orleans is better known.
Mr. Harold La Jeune was born in New York, and for eighteen years has been actively identified with various branches of steamship business, and gives superior abilities as well as long experience to his activities in the business.
The combination of these men in the promotion of southern participation in international business overseas makes the firm a strong factor in that movement, and they have organized their business in a most effective way. So that with the use of the facilities they control through their agency for the Churchill Line and the South Atlantic Line, and the added strength of other steamships for which they are agents, the firm ranks with the foremost of the steamship agencies of the South.
Besides their main offices in New York and New Orleans, the company has branch offices and agencies in all of the other ports of the South from Galveston east to Savannah, and has connections and correspondents in various other ports, domestic and foreign. The business of the firm is growing rapidly, and is on a most substantial basis.