Sheaf Steam Shipping Co. Ltd was founded by W. A. Souter in 1906 and named after the Sheaf River that ran through his home city of Sheffield, although the company was based in Newcastle. Starting out in the Baltic, Biscay and Mediterranean trades the company operated in both deep sea tramping and the North East coal trade between the wars. The company suffered heavy losses during the Second World War. At the end of the 1950s it moved out of deep sea tramping and into the iron ore trade, acquiring bulk carriers from the 1960s. Its subsidiary Bamburgh Shipping Co. Ltd was sold to Ben Line in 1976. The remaining ship management side of the business was taken over by Danish shipbuilders Burmeister & Wain and traded as Souter Hamlet.
The flag of Sheaf Steam Shipping Co. Ltd, Newcastle-on-Tyne. A rectangular pale blue flag with a coloured wheat sheaf in the centre. The flag is made of a wool and synthetic fibre bunting. It has a cotton hoist and is machine sewn. The sheaf is printed. A rope and two Inglefield clips is attached.