On November 25, 1919 Mr. Arthur Lane Sr. and Mr. Robert E. Peabody joined the firm of Rogers & Webb as full partners. Trade in New England was rapidly changing due to World War I from a dominant coastal schooner trade to a “steel ship” trade on US government subsidized “Hog Island” freighters. Mr. Lane & Mr. Peabody, well versed in chartering, stevedoring, forwarding, brokerage, and Steamship Agency laid the foundation for the future Peabody & Lane Incorporated.
In 1932 Arthur Lane & Robert Peabody opened their own firm and built the company from which we carry forth today. Things were much different in the 30’s as the schooner trade was ending, the ‘Great Depression” had the country in turmoil and World War II was looming on the horizon. Back in those days there were a dozen or so Stevedores, Shipping Agencies and many Forwarders & Brokers all of whom were “Steamship Men”; today there are 1-2 Stevedores, 2-3 local Agents, and many fewer Brokers & Forwarders. Due to US Government Regulations requiring negotiations with organized labor, the need to establish pension funds for labor, and the need to reduce the many labor actions in the Port of Boston the Boston Shipping Association was formed in 1946 with Mr. Arthur Lane Sr. as a founding member and the first President of the Association.
Arthur Lane Sr.’s level of commitment to the Port community would live on in his son Arthur Lane Jr., a graduate of Harvard College, who joined the firm in 1940, whose service to the firm was interrupted during WWII where he served as a Lieutenant in the United States Navy. Arthur Lane Jr returned in 1945 where he became a full partner in the firm in 1949 and remained so until his retirement in 2005 at the age of 90. Like his father Arthur Lane Jr. was a “Steamship Man” dedicating himself to the working waterfront for over 65 years.
His work with the ILA & Management in coastwise bargaining was crucial to the survival of the Boston waterfront and he was a leader in the transition from the days of bagged & baled freight to containerization in the early 1970’s. Like his father he served as the President of the Boston Shipping Association from 1961-1991 with great distinction. As President of the BSA he joined with the League of Women Voters to establish the “Boston Harbor Associates” in 1973. Originally formed to organize the Boston Harbor Islands it later became an environmental principal in the shaping, saving & promoting of the Boston waterfront.
A true leader, Arthur Lane Jr. was recognized many times including the Propeller Club Port of Boston Person of the year and a Meritorious Public Service Award by the Department of Transportation in 2000.
In the early 1970’s as the transition from break bulk freight moved to containers Mr. Lane recognized that the dedicated container lines would want and need control of their own affairs in ports and the role of the agent in containerization would be diminished. With this in mind Mr. Lane focused on traditional bulk cargoes such as salt, gypsum, scrap, coal & the New kid on the block (1968 the first call to Boston) LNG. The focus on bulk cargoes continues today and we are blessed with the wonderful relationships we share with our customers who operate in these trades.
In 1987 William C. Eldridge joined the firm after sailing on the Pacific having previously graduated from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy as a Deck Officer. Mr. Eldridge continued with the firm becoming a full partner in 1990 and succeeded Mr. Lane as President in 2005. Eldridge continues the tradition of serving the Port Community as the Vice President of the BSA, Past President of the Propeller Club Port of Boston, having served on the Board of Managers of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, various security committees, and an Associate Member of the Boston Marine Society. Eldridge like Arthur Lane Jr. was also honored with Propeller Club Port of Boston Person of the Year in 2008.
While many things have changed in the industry our commitment to serving our Customers has never wavered -Integrity, Honesty, Trust, & Continuity were long established ideals by the founders of the company and they continue to guide us today.