The speed of East India Company ships.

Onderzoeksoutput: Meeting abstract (Book)


We study the speed of ships sailing from England to India and the Far East. Our data cover periods (1770-1775, 1783-1791 and 1820-1829) that exclude wars. The data cover 685 voyages by ships of the English East India Company from London to five destinations: Bombay, Calcutta, Madras, Bengkulu, and China. The median duration of the voyage from England to Asia fell from about 160 days in the 1770s to 120 days in the 1820s. This is not the result of a shift towards nearer destinations: for all destinations, the duration fell by about 40 to 60 days. The reduction in the duration of the voyage corresponds to an average annual increase in speed by 0.5 percent, from about 70 nautical miles per day in 1770 to 97 nautical miles per day in 1829, in line with what Ronnback (2012) finds for slave trading ships crossing the Atlantic in 1675-1862. We regress the duration of voyage (in days) on the following control variables: the ship's year of launch or the year of the first voyage, the ship's tonnage, the destination of the voyage (from which we computed the distance over sea), the number of stops, and the month and year of departure. The results show that for ships leaving London in January (the base month for the seasonal dummies) an additonal nautical mile adds 0.0175 days to the voyage, implying a speed of 57 nautical miles per day at sea. The coefficients for seasonal dummies show that ships leaving between February and May shave 12 to 24 days off their voyage time. Bigger ships are somewhat faster: an additional 100 tons cuts 1.34 days from the voyage time. Older ships (as measured by their age, not their vintage) are slower: an additional year adds over half a day to the voyage time. Finally, a stop adds 24.5 days to the voyage.
Originele taal-2English
TitelInternational Conference of the International Trade and Finance Association, Montreal, 29--31 May 2013.
StatusPublished - 29 mei 2013
EvenementUnknown -
Duur: 29 mei 2013 → …


Periode29/05/13 → …


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