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ANMM Collection

Collection of 38 items relating to Overseas Containers Limited

Date: 1960s-1980s
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from David Baker
Object Copyright: © OCL
Object Name: Archive series
Object No: ANMS1118

User Terms

    This collection of 38 items relates to the company history of Overseas Containers Limited (OCL). The series consists of 14 copies of telegrams; one press release; three OCL memorandums; one booklet for the NSW Secret Comission Prohibition Act; six letters to OCL London; three lists relating to OCL and pricing; three sets of notes; and seven reports relating to OCL structure, relationships, possible acquisition of POAL Stevedoring Interests and ASOA stoppages. The items span the period 1960s-1980s.
    SignificanceThis series of OCL memorabilia and archival material constitutes an excellent and quite complete record from the company's inception in the 1960s to being subsumed in 1987. It holds detailed information about the company's shipping lines, container port developments, business strategies and re-development of Australian ports.
    HistoryContainerisation had a significant impact on Australian and international shipping, and shipping related industries and workforces. In the 1960s many shipping companies formed consortia to ease the financial burden of the changeover from cargo handling to containers.

    OCL was formed in 1969 by four British companies: British and Commonwealth Shipping, Furness Withy, P&O and the Ocean Steamship Company. Between 1969 and 1970 OCL took delivery of its first ships, a fleet of six vessels of 27,000 gross register tons (GRT) and 1,900 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) capacity for the UK-Europe to Australia route. The service was inaugurated on the 6th March 1969 by ENCOUNTER BAY undertaking her maiden voyage, and OCL overcame heavy losses in the first years of operations to become one of the world's leading container lines. By 1982 OCL was Europe's largest container through transport operator with a fleet of 20 containerships and more than 60,000 container units. It served more than 50 major ports and, in 1980, transported more than a quarter of a million container loads of import and export cargo on a route network linking locations throughout four continents.

    One company, P&O, gradually increased its share of the consortium until in 1986 it bought the remaining 53% held by Ocean Transport and Trading (as The Ocean Steamship Company was by then known) and British & Commonwealth. On the 1st January 1987 the name OCL ceased to exist, the operation becoming known as P&O Containers Ltd (P&OCL). In 1996 P&O Containers merged with Nedlloyd to form P&O Nedlloyd. August 2005 saw the completion of a buyout of P&O Nedlloyd by the A.P. Moller-Maersk Group and in February 2006 the name Maersk Line was adopted for the combined fleets.

    Container ships sailing for the company under the OCL banner were characterised by their green hulls with white topping, white superstructure and green funnels bearing the initials OCL in white letters. All OCL ships' names ended in Bay, such as ENCOUNTER BAY, TOKYO BAY, LIVERPOOL BAY, RESOLUTION BAY and MAIRANGI BAY.

    When OCL became P&OCL, there was a slight modification to the ships' colour scheme, the hulls becoming completely green and the OCL logo on the funnels being replaced with the P&O logo. The naming convention was retained, and in June 2006 there were some 'Bay' ships operating in the Maersk Line fleet.

    Additional Titles

    Web title: Collection of 38 items relating to Overseas Containers Limited

    Collection title: OCL Archival collection

    Primary title: Overseas Containers Limited (OCL) material

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