Records of Ben Line Containers Limited, shipping company, Edinburgh, Scotland

Scope and Content

  • Voyage account files, 1973-1977;
  • Ship publicity files, c1962-1991;
  • Ben Freightway, 1972-1991;
  • Ben Freightway production and unused material, c1960s-1991;
  • Company brochures and leaflets, c1970s-1991;
  • BLC sticker, c1970s-1980s;
  • Ben Line Containers Ltd press releases, 1970-1973;
  • Photographs, c1950s-1980s;
  • Benalder VI & Benavon IV builders specification books, 1970;
  • Benalder VI general arrangement plans, 1970;
  • Ben Line Containers Ltd private telephone directory, 1989;
  • Flags, c1970s-1980s;
  • Sir Walter Scott Post Office commemorative cover sent to Ben Line Containers Ltd, 1971.

Administrative / Biographical History

Ben Line Containers Limited (BLC) was formed in March 1970, with Ben Line 80% shareholder and Ellerman 20%. The formation of this company was in recognition of the dawning 'container revolution'. BLC thereafter ordered and took delivery of 3 container ships: Benalder VI (1972), Benavon IV (1973)and City of Edinburgh (1973). These ships operated within the 17 strong fleet of a three-nation consortium (the Trio Group) made up of Ben Line, Hapag-Lloyd, Mitsui-OSK (MOL), Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) and Overseas Containers Ltd (OCL) all engaged in the Far East trade. The company held offices throughout Asia and published the newspaper Ben Freightway which recorded activities and staff news across its network between 1972 and 1991. BLC's ships served an expanding number of ports across the Far East throughout the 1970s. The ships were converted from steam turbine to diesel between 1980-1981. At this point container capacity was also incresed on all three vessels. In the face of increasing competition on the Far East route, these three vessels were deemed in need of replacement by 1992, at which point the cost of doing so was too great and so they were sold off to the East Asiatic Company Ltd. This effectively ended the operations of BLC and its last accounts were filed in 1998.

Access Information

Some files in this collection are subject to Data Protection legislation as they contain sensitive information. These records will not be fully accessible to the public until 100 years from the date on each file. However, they may be accessible to bona fide researchers and academics. Please contact the Duty Archivist for advice on how to apply for access to these files. Contact details are as follows: Duty Archivist, Archive Services, University of Glasgow, 13 Thurso Street, Glasgow, G11 6PE.

Acquisition Information

Gift : E G Thomson (Holdings) Ltd : June 2013 : ACCN 3773

Gift : E G Thomson (Holdings) Ltd : February 2013 : ACCN 3744

Transfer : Edinburgh University Library : June 2006 : ACCN 2949

Other Finding Aids

Digital file level list available in searchroom

Alternative Form Available

No known copies

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

None which affect the use of this material

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Archivist.

Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 248 procedures

Custodial History

All Materials held by Ben Line Group Limited until it was wound down in 2000. Thereafter transfered to and held by E G Thomson (Holdings) Ltd until deposit at GUAS, with exception of ACCN 2949, containing voyage account books and voyage account boxes, which were held by Edinburgh University Library until transfer to GUAS in 2006.


None expected

Related Material

Related material held by GUAS in GB 248 UGC 199, Records of The Ben Line Group

Location of Originals

This material is original


Somner, G.Ben Line: Fleet List and Short History. Kendal, England: World Ship Society , 1st edition 1967 , 2nd edition 1980 .Strachan, M.The Ben Line 1825-1982. Norwich: Michael Russell , 1992 .Somner, G.Ben Line. Preston: Ships in Focus Publications , 2009 .

Additional Information

Description compiled in line with the following international standards: International Council on Archives, ISAD(G) Second Edition, September 1999and National Council on Archives, Rules for the construction of personal, place and corporate names

Scotland is the location of all place names in the administrative/biographical history element, unless otherwise stated.

Fonds level description compiled by .

Family Names