J.P. Morgan Forms a Maritime Trust

J.P. Morgan Forms a Maritime Trust


On 1 October 1902, financier J.P. Morgan announced the formation of the International Mercantile Marine Company, a trust that sought to control global maritime shipping.

White Star Line was the trust’s crown jewel. As a US citizen, Morgan could not directly own British ships, but he could own the company that owned the ships. In 1902, IMM carried 64,738 passengers, a total boosted by high immigration to the US.

Due to various reasons, including the Titanic disaster,  J.P. Morgan’s death in 1913, World War I, government and popular opposition to trusts in the US and UK and, ultimately, an inability to form a functioning monopoly, IMM never came close to achieving its goal of shipping domination. The company went into receivership in 1915 and gradually faded away into insignificance.

Morgan white star
IMM Bond

Some J.P. Morgan trivia:

  • James Pierpont, J.P. Morgan’s uncle, wrote Jingle Bells in 1857.
  • J.P. Morgan’s alleged reply to a journalist inquiring about his yacht’s value: “If you have to ask, you can’t afford it.” What he actually said, however, is not quite as catchy: “You have no right to own a yacht if you ask that question.”
  • J.P. Morgan abruptly cancelled his reservation on Titanic shortly before she sailed, leading to speculation (unproven) that he knew something bad was going to happen to the liner on her maiden voyage.
Morgan White star
IMM’s First Earnings Report

J.P.Morgan is no longer around, so he can’t help keep Ocean Liners Magazine afloat. You are our only hope. Any amount will be greatly appreciated.
—Regards, John Edwards Editor/Publisher.