Færgefart som Forretning. A/S Lillebelts-Overfarten 1920-1972

Anne Dorthe Holm, Bo Poulsen

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This article analyzes the business of running a ferry company, A/S Lillebelts-Overfarten, connecting the town of Assens in Funen with Aarøsund in Southern Jutland (Northern Schleswig). The company was formed in 1920 in the wake Southern Jutland’s re-integration into the Danish state, when local merchants and citizens saw new business opportunities through the resurrection of a ferry route, which had closed down in 1864, when Southern Jutland had been conquered by Prussia. For the first 10 years, the company fared well, which was due in large to the freight of sugar beets, farmed in Southern Jutland and processed at the sugar refinery in Assens. In addition the company had a steady income from postal service between Funen and Jutland. From approximately 1930-1946, the company had to deal with the effects of first The great Depression and then World War II, where the ferry struck a naval mine and sank.
From the late 1940s until the early 1960s the turnover of the ferry company grew steadily each year, and almost every year witnessed a significant profit. Nonetheless, the rapid increase in transportation of automobiles led to significant capacity problems in the high season in the summers of the late 1950s. Then in 1963 a newer and larger ferry was put in operation. Yet, in hindsight this was a costly affair. The larger ferry was operated with more men, causing a surge in salary expenditure, while the cost of administration also surged. Following a decade of soaring expenses accompanied by ever larger annual deficits, the company was closed down entirely in 1972. In 1975, there was a short lived attempt at starting a new ferry company, but for the past 40 years, the exchange of people, goods and services between Funen and Jutland has been facilitated through other routes and modes of transportation, such as the Den nye Lillebæltsbro (1970) a bridge with a motorway some 35 kilometers to the north of the Assens-Aarøsund connection.
Original languageDanish
JournalErhvervshistorisk Aarbog
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)14-35
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jul 2016

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