The Organization of the East Coast Trade
This chapter discusses Hostmen's and the organization of the Newcastle and London coal trade. The abundant capacity of the north-eastern coalfield undermined any sustained attempts at producers' cartels. Free entry and participation of a multitude of ships on an occasional basis generally rendered the shipping of coal highly competitive, and in the later 17th century there are distinct signs here also of over-capacity and falling returns on capital. The wholesaling and retailing of coal within London, although subject to some abuse, was evidently sufficiently flexible and open to avoid any single group gaining effective control.
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