chapter  11
22 Pages

From Craftsmanship to Post-Fordism: Shipbuilding in the United Kingdom and Italy after WWII GIULIO MELLINATO

After World War II (WWII), the resumption of international trade involved the Italian and British maritime engineering in two completely different ways. In the United Kingdom, the shipbuilding sector was still a “staple industry” (Elbaum and Lazonick 1984), which had recovered from the contractions of the 1930s, and was fully riding the wave of growing demand. The national fl eet was the fi rst in the world, with 22% of the total tonnage in 1948, and a clear global leadership with regard to quality, reliability, and security, guaranteed everywhere by London-based Lloyd’s Register of Shipping. In 1953, all major producing districts of the United Kingdom had exceeded the tonnage launched in 1938 (Pope 1990), and British maritime engineering had fully regained its place as world leader. In itself, the great size of the domestic market created the conditions whereby the characteristics of British demand coincided with the main trend for the entire global maritime market. From this point of view, the internal dynamics of continuity with the last prewar period prevented the British producers from changing methods and building practices which, in most cases, dated back to the 1920s and, in some ways, even before (McTavish 2005, 63-98).