Minister of Shipping

The Minister of Shipping was a British government post created in the First World War and again in the Second World War. In 1941 it was merged into the position of Minister of Transport which was then renamed Minister of War Transport.

Minister of Shipping (1916-21)Edit

Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Shipping (1916-21)Edit

As Sir Joseph Maclay was not a Member of Parliament, it was necessary to appoint a Parliamentary Secretary to represent him in the Commons. He was made Baron Maclay after he left office.

Ministers of Shipping (1939-41)Edit

Departmental historyEdit

Royal NavyEdit

The responsibilities overseen by the minister included what had been the Transport Board that was part of the Navy Board until 1832. Oversight for the provision of naval transportation then passed to the Department of the Comptroller of Victualling and Transport Services until 1862 when it was transferred to the Board of Admiralty who set up a Transport Department. By 1890 it was renamed as the Department of the Director of Transports. In 1917 once again as the Transport Department it was temporarily absorbed into the Ministry of Shipping, and the Admiralty seconded an officer to the ministry with the title of Director of Transports and Shipping.[1]

In 1916 a Shipping Controller was appointed to regulate merchant shipping for government purposes and to coordinate wartime shipping requirements. A Ministry of Shipping was established following the Defence Regulations of June 1917.[2] The Ministry of Shipping, had responsibility for 'sea transport of military forces and supplies, food and raw materials for industry, Atlantic, Gibraltar and Russian convoys, shipping losses and tonnage requirements, shipbuilding and other matters relating to wartime British and allied control of merchant shipping'.[3]

In 1917, the ministry embarked on a large scale requisitioning scheme of British ships and became responsible for the maintenance and operation of a vast merchant fleet.[2] After the end of the war in November 1918 the main functions of the ministry were the transport of troops, prisoners of war and material back to the United Kingdom, the disposal or release of requisitioned ships, and the reconditioning of vessels for release back to their private owners. The ministry was dissolved on 31 March 1921.[2]

The Ministry of Shipping was reinstated with the outbreak of war in September 1939; it assumed responsibility for specific Sea Transport Department under auspice of the Admiralty till 1941 when it was merged with the Ministry of Transport to form the Ministry of War Transport. In 1946 the Ministry of Transport was reestablished; it then became responsible for naval transportation until 1970 when that responsibility was assumed once more by the Board of Trade.[4][5][6]


  1. ^ The National Archives, catalogue for ADM 108
  2. ^ a b c "Records inherited and created by the Ministry of Transport, Shipping Divisions". The National Archives (UK). Retrieved 14 July 2018.
  3. ^ The National Archives, catalogue for MT 25
  4. ^ Admiralty, Great Britain (July 1946). "Ministry of Transport:Sea Transport Department". The Navy List. London, England: HM Stationery Office. p. 1790.
  5. ^ Admiralty, Great Britain (April 1968). "Ministry of Transport: Sea Transport Division". The Navy List. London, England: HM Stationery Office. p. 561.
  6. ^ Admiralty, Great Britain (February 1970). "Sea Transport Branch:Board of Trade". The Navy List. London, England: HM Stationery Office. p. 548.