West Hartlepool Steam Navigation Company founded in 1856, initially to operate the coal trade but also ran a weekly service to Hamburg and a fortnightly service to St. Petersburg in the Baltic (ice free) season. A service to Gothenburg was later instituted, but the bulk of the services consisted of world wide tramping. In 1899, the firm of J. E. Guthe & Co was amalgamated and a weekly route between Stockton, Middlesbrough and Hamburg was operated with the chartered ship HERMIA. In 1902 joint services commenced with Bucknall Line and Strick Line between Manchester, Cardiff and London to the Persian Gulf. The Great War caused the cessation of the Hamburg and Gothenburg services in 1914 after which the company confined it’s activities to cargo services.