The Port of London today
|The context: why sea-borne trade has changed|
The traditional ways
Until well into the 20th century, most merchant ships were general cargo vessels, able to carry anything and everything. They had to be prepared to move any goods that needed moving, and usually sailed with mixed cargoes.
The quest for efficiency
After the Second World War, specialist vessels designed for specific cargoes - bulk carriers and container ships - largely replaced the old general ships.
Opportunities and challenges
Many port jobs disappeared, as efficiency meant that fewer workers were needed. Those who remained had to learn new skills. Some ports adapted very well, but others declined or closed completely.
|Back to London's docks: past and present|