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Orient Line

'Sentiment must ultimately give way to the needs of business, but I (would) like to record that Orient Line did not come to an end through any lack of the vigour and imagination which had characterised it without a break for so many years.' Sir Donald Anderson, 1966

Buoyed by the emigrant trade, the Australia route was still the most profitable but, in a climate of declining passenger numbers, valuable savings could be made by merging the interests of P&O and Orient Line.

For Anderson, it meant reuniting with his ‘family firm’, which had started life as Anderson and Anderson Co., in 1869. By 1960 the Orient Line (as it was known from 1878) was managed by, amongst others, Anderson’s brother Colin who joined the P&O board on completion of the deal. Unlike Colin, Donald Anderson had pursued his career with P&O, joining the Company in 1933 and rising to the rank of Sir William Currie’s 'tower of strength' by the time he replaced him as Chairman in 1960.

The two companies had first united in 1919 and had worked collaboratively for many years, particularly in the difficult trading conditions of the postwar period. By the end of 1960 the integration was complete and together P&O and Orient operated their ships, and management services in Australia, under the new name P&O-Orient. Gradually the Orient livery was repainted and as the last house flag was lowered on 30th September 1966 on the deck of Oriana, the Orient name bowed out too.