THE STORY OF MOORE-McCORMACK
(from "The Mooremack News," June 1951 Edition)
The Uruguay, one of the three liners of Moore-McCormack's Good Neighbor
Fleet serving South America, passes under the Port Authority's Bayonne Bridge on
way to shipyard at Kearny, N.J. for rebuilding after service in World War II.
The establishment in 1913 of Moore & McCormack, now the Moore-McCormack Lines, was, appropriately enough, a partnership between two
men living respectively in the two states which share the great Port of New York – New Jersey and New York.
Albert V. Moore of Hackensack, N.J. and Emmet J. McCormack of Brooklyn, N.Y, today among the best known of all American steamship
operators, formed the Moore & McCormack Company in that year. Each was in his early thirties.
They had courage to go into the steamship business at that time. It was a tough game and American shipping had declined almost to
the vanishing point since the busy years of the clipper ships. But the young men had confidence in themselves, and some experience in the business.
Mr. Moore came from a family of shipowners and shipmasters and had obtained his early experience with the New York office of the
British shipowners, Bowring & Company and with the Tweedie Trading Company.
Mr. McCormack's first job in shipping had actually been four jobs in one – he worked simultaneously for a ship chandler, a firm
supplying dunnage to tankers, a stevedoring company and a towboat operator.
Each paid him one dollar a week. Soon he managed to buy his own vessel for towing and salvage work, then expanded into the
business of bunkering coal for ships.
The new firm shared offices with the Commercial Coal Co. in the old building, since replaced, at 29 Broadway in New York. It
started off by chartering the old iron steamer Montara and putting her in the Brazil trade, the first ship in a service in which Moore & McCormack were destined to become a power.
Her first cargo was dynamite from Wilmington, Del. to Brazil. And when the Montara arrived to load the hazardous stuff, it
wasn't ready. An established firm might have weathered the financial strain of paying the vessel's expenses while she waited but such a hitch in the young partners' plans might well have been fatal to Moore & McCormack. So they
grabbed a cargo of coal from Norfolk to Aroostook County, Maine. It tided them over until the dynamite was ready.
Next, the partners bought two Great Lakes freighters, one wooden, one steel. The wooden one was renamed the Barnstable, the
steel one the Mooremack.
In 1917 the new company began operation of its first passenger ship, the Saga, formerly in the Sweden-England run. With her
came her master, a bearded man with a foghorn voice, who was later to become general manager of Moore & McCormack. The name of the late Thor Eckert was famous many years in the shipping world of the Port of New York.
From then on the company expanded rapidly. Montevideo, Uruguay and Buenos Aires, Argentina were added as ports of call in 1919.
The previous year operation in the Scandinavian trade had been commenced. Meanwhile, Moore & McCormack had moved to its present headquarters at 5 Broadway, now expanded to include part of No. 11. Temporary ventures, some
continued over long periods, were made into the trades to Ireland, the Mediterranean, the Levant, India, Havana, and in coastwise and intercoastal services.
In 1927 the company purchased the American Scantic Line service to Scandinavia from the old U.S. Shipping Board. Later this trade
was expanded to include Russian and Polish ports.
The most important step in the company's history came in 1938, when its bid for operation of the Maritime Commission's American
Republics Line service to the East Coast of South America was accepted. It involved the acquisition of ten cargo vessels and the former Panama Pacific intercoastal liners Virginia, Pennsylvania and California.
These three large ships were completely rebuilt into the luxury liners Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. Simultaneously the company's name was changed to its present title of Moore-McCormack Lines, Inc.
Today its fleet, disrupted by the war, is back to normal and plans have been announced for the construction of two new 23,000-ton
liners to augment its ships in the East Coast of South America service.
Albert V. Moore and Emmet J. McCormack may well look with pride on what they have wrought out of a partnership begun on a basis of
little more than enthusiasm, vision, good business sense and an unshakable confidence in their ability to get there.