For over 100 years, U.S.-flag ships carried lumber from the West Coast to the East and Gulf coasts. About 40 ships were regularly employed in this trade, making about 200 voyages annually. Additionally, more than 200 smaller ships — steam schooners affectionately called the Scandinavian Navy — transported lumber from the Pacific Northwest to San Francisco and Southern California. 
An interesting feature of this trade was that many of the ships were owned by lumber companies that sought to control their supply lines. Since most sawmills in the West were located on navigable waterways, it was efficient to use ships to transport lumber to company-owned terminals or yards at Atlantic, Gulf or Caribbean ports.

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