Last modified: 2006-11-19 by ivan sache
Keywords: compagnie maritime belge | lozenge (white) | cross (red) | crown: belgium | compagnie belge maritime du congo | star (yellow) | lion (yellow) | lloyd royale belge | bocimar | letter: b (blue) |
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House flag of CMB
Left, traditional flag - Image by James Dignan, 6 December 2003
Right, logotyped flag, as shown in Brown's Flags and Funnels of Shipping Companies of the World (1995) [lgr95] - Image by Jarig Bakker, 18 February 2006
The origin of Compagnie Maritime Belge (in Dutch, Belgische
Scheepvaartmaatschappij), in short CMB, initially called
Compagnie Belge Maritime du Congo
(CBMC), dates back to 1895. At the instance of King of the Belgians
Leopold II, British interests established CBMC in order
to provide a regular shipping service to
Congo. On 6 February 1895 the passenger
liner Léopoldville (I) was the first ship to leave
Antwerp under Belgian flag. Belgian
shareholders headed by Banque d'Outremer, later absorbed
by Société Générale de
Belgique, took control in 1911. Until 1930, activities were
limited to a shipping service to Congo, carrying passengers, cargo
In 1930 CBMC absorbed the Belgian shipowner Lloyd Royal Belge. The company name was changed into CMB (LR) and the first additional lines to North and South America and the Far East were started. In the Second World War CMB lost three quarters of its fleet in acts of war.
The after-war colonial boom boosted CMB's activities, enabling the company to diversify its business by means of investments in shipping related areas. In 1960 CMB took over the Belgian shipowner Armement Deppe, specialized in the route to Central and South America. The Congo shipping service became less dominant but CMB was still exclusively a liner shipowner.
In 1982, the CMB took over Bocimar. In 1985, it purchased Hessenatie, a cargo shipping company. The company was formerly known as the Belgian Line and is currently operating as the CMB group.
Source: CMB website
Phil Nelson, Dov Gutterman & Jan Mertens, 20 November 2003
The house flag of Compagnie Maritime Belge is swallow-tailed, blue with a red cross charged with a white diamond and crown.
There were various undertakings in Congo, which summarize as follows. Compagnie Belge Maritime du Congo was founded on 24 January 1895 as a branch of the
African Steam Ship Co. (Elder Dempster, Liverpool).
Ships flew the Belgian flag and presumably the
Elder Dempster house flag. In 1910,
the Independent State of the Congo having become a Belgian colony,
there was a patriotic move towards nationalization of this line which
had been Belgian in name only. The British co-owner did not object
and was, in fact, to play a role in sustaining operations during th
first World War. After having absorbed the Lloyd Royal Belge
line in February 1930, the company was renamed Compagnie
Maritime Belge (Lloyd Royal).
The CMB flag is clearly related to the CBMC flag, with the diamond and crown from Lloyd Royal thrown in. But the Elder Dempster house flag seems to have been the model for the CBMC, and ultimately for the CMB, houseflags.
Brown's Flags and Funnels of Shipping Companies of the World (1995) [lgr95] shows a logotyped house flag with the lettering CMB TRANSPORT.
Jarig Bakker & Jan Mertens, 18 February 2006
House flag of CBMC - Images by Jarig Bakker, 2 January 2005
According to Scott's Caltex book of Flags and Funnels (1959), the house flag of
Compagnie Maritime Congolaise is blue,
swallow-tailed, with a red cross throughout with a small black,
white-bordered disk on the cross center, a yellow lion rampant
therein; in the upper left corner, a yellow five-pointed star.
Larousse Commercial (1930) shows the same flag for Compagnie Belge Maritime du Congo, but with a yellow-bordered disk.
However, Lloyd's book of house flags and funnels of the principal steamship lines of the world and the house flags of various lines of sailing vessels, published at Lloyd's Royal Exchange. London. E.C. (1911), also available online thanks to the Mystic Seaport Foundation, shows the house flag of Compagnie Belge Maritime du Congo with a white-bordered disk.
Brockhaus' Konversations-Lexikon (14th edition, 1898) [bro98] gives a different house flag for Compagnie Belge Maritime du Congo, white swallowtail with a red St. George's Cross, and a yellow crown in the centre.
Jarig Bakker & Jan Mertens, 4 January 2005
House flag of Lloyd Royale Belge - Image by Jarig Bakker, 11 January 2005
According to Brown's Flags and Funnels of British and Foreign Steamship Companies, 1926 [wed26], the house flag of Lloyd Royale Belge is a red flag with a white diamond charged with a yellow crown.
Jarig Bakker, 11 January 2005
House flag of Bocimar
Left, after the CMB website - Image by Ivan Sache, 3 December 2005
Right, as shown in Brown's Flags and Funnels of Shipping Companies of the World (1995) [lgr95] - Image by Jarig Bakker, 1 December 2005
Bocimar is a company based in Temse, specialized in dry bulk. It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Compagnie Maritime Belge.
Bocimar International has three wholly-owned subsidiaries,Bocimar Lux S.A., Bocimar Belgium and CMB Japan. Bocimar Lux S.A. has a wholly owned subsidiary, Bocimar Far East Holdings.
The house flag of Bocimar is shown on the CMB-Bocimar website as yellow with two thin blue stripes on top and bottom of the flag and a blue, seriffed B in the middle of the flag.
Brown's Flags and Funnels of Shipping Companies of the World (1995) [lgr95] shows the flag of is yellow with equal stripes on top and bottom of the flag and a sans-seriffed B.
Blue and yellow are the traditional colours of Temse but there is no evidence of a link between those colours and those of Bocimar, although such a link seems to be very plausible.
Jarig Bakker & Ivan Sache, 3 December 2005