The Liverpool based Coast Lines Group was a successful coastal conglomerate founded by Sir Alfred Read, of around fifty companies that eventually became the world's largest coastal liner fleet. From 1913 onwards, the group adopted an ambitious programme of amalgamations and takeovers, helped by the poor profitability of coastal trading which was facing harsh competition from the railways and the growth of inland motorised transport.
Coast Lines Ltd. themselves helped to pioneer the integration of coastal and inland road transport through their ownership of several road haulage companies, the most well known being the Liverpool Cartage Co. of 1913. During the 1930s, Coast Lines Ltd. became synonymous with their classic motor coaster design and their work alike large twin screw Irish passenger steamers.
Coast Lines Ltd. had their own shipbuilding yard at Ardrossan, which over the years produced over forty of the company's vessels. From the late 1960s, coastal trading experienced the revolutionary impact of containerisation coupled with the advent of the roll on - roll off ferry. Eventually, the Coast Lines Group was taken over by P. & O. in 1971 and amalgamated into their coastal cargo services. Reference Works: Middlemiss, N.L., Coast Lines, Shield Publications, Newcastle, 1998.
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