The Ellerman Lines was a cargo and passenger shipping company, established by businessmen John Ellerman, Christopher Furness and Henry O’Hagan, who bought the assets of the Liverpool based shipping firm Frederick Leyland & Co. Ltd. Including the fleet of 22 vessels.
The company expanded in 1900 by acquiring 20 ships from the West India & Pacific Steamship Co. and further acquisitions followed enabling Ellerman to occupy a dominant position in the Mediterranean and Near East.
By 1914, the Ellerman group controlled four subsidiary companies, Ellerman City Line, Ellerman & Bucknall Co., Ellerman & Papayanni Lines, and Hall Line.
By the outbreak of the Second World War, Ellerman had expanded to a total of 105 ships, making it one of the biggest fleets in the world.
In 1966 Ellerman Lines started the successful containerisation of its Mediterranean services. By the early 1970s the Ellerman group had expanded its commercial interests into other areas, including hotels, brewing and printing.
By the early 1980s the company’s profitability had plummeted and it was making heavy losses. The whole business was then sold to Barclay Brothers.
In 1985 the shipping part of the business was sold to Trafalger House who merged it with the Cunard Line to form Cunard-Ellerman in 1987. The business was sold on to Hamburg Süd in 2003 and Ellerman Lines ceased to exist.