VOYAGE DATABASE, 1900-1914: Key Findings

1. Capacity utilization

was crucial to early 20th century transatlantic passenger shipping companies, because their costs were nearly all fixed but revenues could vary widely (especially with migrant traffic);


a) In contrast to early 21st century airlines, the North Atlantic passenger steamship companies during 1900-1914 averaged only about a 40% capacity utilization [Keeling, "Capacity," p. 226]. This was after taking into account nearly 30% of overall capacity tied in reserve vessels, vessels loaned out to other routes, or undergoing maintenance, repair, or retrofitting [Keeling, "Capacity," p. 236].


b) The seeming oddity of steerage class passengers being overcharged relative to second class passengers is heightened by the knowledge (shown by calculations supported by the Voyage Database) that second class traffic was mostly made up of migrant passengers, though less overwhelmingly so than steerage [Keeling, Business of Transatlantic Migration, p. 286]. One reason for profit margins being lower on 2nd class fares than on steerage is that second class (the Voyage Database results show) had a much higher capacity utilization than steerage [Keeling, "Capacity," p. 237].


2. Ship funnels :  go here


3. Migration flows


For other key findings, see book, especially tables and graphs.