Last modified: 2011-06-10 by ivan sache
Keywords: messageries africaines | messafric | letters: ma (white) |
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House flag of Messageries Africaines, two variants - Images by Ivan Sache, 19 September 2010
The shipping company Messageries Africaines had its seat in Dakar (Senegal), as shown on a company share dated 1929,
but was registered in Bordeaux.
The company was much older, since there is a record of the set up of an office of the Messageries Africaines in Koulikoro (today in Mali) in 1897. Daouda Sidibé (Maisons de commerce et commerce colonial au Soudan Français, 1878-1933, ENSUP, 1983) lists the firm as established on 11 February 1907 with offices set up in French Sudan in 1920.
The economic report of the Circle (colonial district) of Koulikoro, 1924, states that the Société des Messageries Africaines was about to acquire a river steamer with all of the latest technical improvements. The 1929 report says that there were only two river transport companies in operation - Société des Messageries Africaines and Société de Bamako. The Messageries Africaines bought two new tugs and five 60-ton barges. In 1930, both companies complained about a lack of freight. In 1935, they carried 22,000 tons of river freight.
"Messafric" was the common term used in French administrative documents to refer to the Messageries Africaines, which operated a steamship service on River Niger from the 1930s to independence.
The Algiers office of the Messageries Africaines is still listed on an official booklet released in 1953-54 as providing road service.
Source: Rapports économiques du Cercle de Koulikoro (1924-1942) in ANM 345 fonds recents, by Jim Jones
Ivan Sache, 12 March 2008
The house flag of Messageries Africaines is shown in 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. (1912) [LLo12], also available online thanks to the Mystic Seaport Foundation, #1339, p. 100, as red with the white letters "MA" in the middle.
The Yearbook of the Central Committee of France Shipowners (1922) shows the company's house flag as red with the white letters "SMA" in the middle.
Ivan Sache & Dominique Cureau, 19 September 2010