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Compagnie de Navigation Mixte (Shipping company, France)

Last modified: 2005-12-24 by ivan sache
Keywords: compagnie de navigation mixte | letters: nm (black) | arnaud | letters: latf (black) | societe petrole-transports | letters: cip (red) |
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[House flag of CNM]

Flag of Compagnie de Navigation Mixte - Image by Ivan Sache, 7 February 2004

See also:

Société Louis Arnaud, Touache Frères & Cie

[House flag of Arnaud]

House flag of Société Louis Arnaud, Touache Frères & Cie - Image by Ivan Sache, 7 February 2004

On 20 December 1850, Louis Arnaud founded with Auguste and Félix Touache the Société Louis Arnaud, Touache Frères & Cie. Arnaud was the representative in Marseilles of a river shipping company from Lyon. He was one of the first shipowners to predict that the recent conquest of Algeria would open a very important market for shipping.
The first ship of the company was SS Du-Tremblay, named after the engineer who invented the combined water-ether steam engine. This kind of engine saved up to 75% of the coal compared with the usual steam engine. However, ether steam was extremely flammable and the new technology was rapidly abandoned.
In 1853, SS Aveir, with a combined steam engine, inaugurated the Touache line to Rio de Janeiro.
The house flag of Société Louis Arnaud, Touache Frères & Cie is horizontally divided red-white-red (1:2:1) with the black letters L.A.T.F. in the white stripe.

Source: Paul Bois. Armements marseillais - Compagnies de navigation et navires à vapeur (1831-1988), published by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Marseille-Provence [boi03].

Ivan Sache, 7 February 2004

History of Compagnie de Navigation Mixte

In 1855, Société Louis Arnaud, Touache Frères & Cie was renamed Compagnie de Navigation Mixte (CNM). At that time, cargo was transported by sailing ships, more economical, whereas passengers were tranported by paddle steam ships, slow and very expensive. Touache decided to use screw-propelling on his sailing ships, and highlighted his innovation in the name of the company.
On 27 September 1856, SS France burned in the port of Bahia after its first journey, and the company withdrew from transatlantic shipping. An attempt to open a line to Far-East was not more successful.
In 1857, the CNM owned 13 vessels and was the second biggest French shipping company. All the operations of the company were redirected to the service of Algeria, in strong competition with the powerful Messageries Impériales. Touache increased the capital of the company and transfered its social seat to Lyon.
To survive, the CNM had to set up alliances with the rival companies, which were subsidized by the French state.

In 1893, the company operated 13 vessels and experienced again massive losses. The company was saved by Theodore Mante, who improved the service to North Africa and unsuccessfully attempted to extend the lines to the Gulf of Guinea.

After the First World War, the lines were reorganized and the company was mostly involved in tramping. In 1928, the liner MS El-Biar was the first of a series of modern liners (El-Golea, El-Kantara, El-Mansour, El-Djezair), which allowed the company to develop and gain a very good reputation. In the late 1930s, the CNM operated a young fleet of high quality. The company absorbed the Busck company and created with the Société Maritime Nationale a joint division for the service of Mediterranean lines. The company built a harbour station in Port-Vendres (Roussillon).

The Second World War nearly suppressed the CNM. In 1945, the company owned only two old ships. Eight years later, the fleet was renewed but the company suffered from the competition with air transport. The independence war of Algeria increased the problems of the company. In 1967, the capital of the CNM was absorbed by the insurance company La Fortune, which was not interested in shipping. The CNM was merged with its old rival, the Compagnie Générale Transatlantique, to form the Compagnie Générale Méditerranéenne.

In 1976, the CNM hoisted again its house flag and bought two container ships for a service to the Antilles, a traditional domain of Fabre and the Compagnie Générale Transatlantique. The competition was very harsh, and the CNM had to withdraw from Guyane and redirect its activity to West Africa, facing there the competition of Delmas-Vieljeux. At the end of 1977, the CNM was forced to withdraw from Africa and to downsize its operations in the Antilles.
In 1981, the container ships Pagnol and Raimu were sold and the flag of the company was definitively lowered.

House flag of Compagnie de Navigation Mixte

The house flag of Compagnie de Navigation Mixte is horizontally divided red-white-red (1:2:1) with the black letters NM in the white stripe.

Source: Paul Bois, op. cit.

Ivan Sache, 7 February 2004

Sources vary with the width of the bands, shape of the letters and whether there should be dots after the letters and Brown 1934 making it a swallowtail with blue letters.

Neale Rosanoski, 21 February 2005

Société Pétrole-Transports

[House flag of Petrole-Transports]

House flag of Société Pétrole-Transports - Image by Ivan Sache, 22 February 2005

In 1909, the CNM created the Société Pétrole-Transports, for which it purchased the first big French tanker.

Lloyds 1912 [llo12] shows the house flag of the company as white with a red border and the red letters C.I.P. The initials appear to have no connection with the company or its principal. The same letters in combined form are shown as the funnel monogram.

CIP means Compagnie Industrielle des Pétroles.
Théodore Mante, the president of the CNM was also president of Compagnie Industrielle des Pétroles et des raffineries de Frontignan. He created several shipping companies for the transport of oil because of a odd law which forbid a shipowner to have more than one dangerous boat in his float.
Therefore he created Pétrole-Transports for the Radioleine (1912-1925), Naphte-Transports for the Motricine (1914-1918) and Mazout-Transports for the CIP (1922-1953).
After 1918, the law changed, and all tankers was regrouped in Mazout-Transport. In 1954, CIP was buyed by Mobil-Oil and the company was dissolved.

Ivan Sache, Neale Rosanoski & Dominique Cureau, 23 February 2005