Imported commodities are also warehoused in private buildings owned by dock companies or by private firms.
Such warehouses are either bonded, viz., under control of the Royal Customs, for goods entered duty unpaid; or free, for goods already cleared at the Custom-house.
The system was inaugurated at Liverpool in 1708 and in London in 1802; and proved so successful that it has continually gained ground, and is now not only spread and acted upon all over the dominions of the British Crown, but adopted by the most enlightened nations of the world.
In England such warehouses are usually situated along the quays; they are thus called dock warehouses, and often, though in a rather loose way, simply docks.
Advantages of Dock Warehousing.-
A merchant receiving goods at an unfavourable period to effect their sale would, of course, be compelled either to warehouse them on his own account, and thus keep his capital idle in the expectation of a better market, or sell them for what he could get should he be in the necessity of realizing to meet his engagements.
In both cases he would be sure to suffer a considerable loss, and the system could not fail to turn out highly prejudicial to the trade, by depressing the value of goods, or obliging merchants to limit their range of business within the figure of their capital.
An effective check to this double evil is afforded by the warehousing system, which answers the twofold purpose of maintaining the merchant in the full possession of his property until he finds it convenient to dispose of it, and enabling him at the same time to avail himself of nearly the whole sum it represents, by obtaining, through equitable mortgage, an advance on its value.
Another advantage of no little importance is afforded to the trade by the public auction-sales, which periodically take place at public sale-rooms, and form now of their characteristic features.
Since the institution of such sales, which occur almost every day, dock warehouses have rapidly become most active markets for the ready sale of any kind and quantity of merchandise, thus affording large importers a suitable field for their exertions.
No wonder, therefore, that nearly all cargoes arriving in the principal ports of the United Kingdom are lodged in these establishments.
Mode of Warehousing.-
Such special provisions excepted as may be contained in the regulations of each dock warehouse, goods in London are usually lodged through a regular entry and registered at the dock-office, the owner receiving, directly on warehousing, a receipt called a dock-tally, containing particulars of the goods lodged.
It is customary, also, for large importing houses to have their own forms of indents for warehousing, one of the counterfoils being the owner’s declaration of deposit, which serves as an entry, and the other a receipt, which, when duly signed by the dock’s agent, is returned to the depositor.