The loss of productivity due to convoy delays was small compared with the loss of productivity due to ships being sunk.
Ports could deal more easily with convoys because they tended to arrive on schedule and so loading and unloading could be planned.
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In the early 20th century, the dreadnought changed the balance of power in convoy battles.
Steaming faster than merchant ships and firing at long ranges, a single battleship could destroy many ships in a convoy before the others could scatter over the horizon.
To protect a convoy against a capital ship required providing it with an escort of another capital ship, at very high opportunity cost (i.e.
potentially tying down multiple capital ships to defend different convoys against one opponent ship).
The Admiralty took a long time to respond to this change in the tactical position, and in April 1917 convoys were trialled, before being officially introduced in the Atlantic in September 1917. The primary issue was the loss of productivity, as merchant shipping in convoy has to travel at the speed of the slowest vessel in the convoy and spent a considerable amount of time in ports waiting for the next convoy to depart.
Further, large convoys were thought to overload port resources.
Arriving at the scene of a major emergency with a well-ordered unit and intact command structure can be another motivation.
By the French Revolutionary Wars of the late 18th century, effective naval convoy tactics had been developed to ward off pirates and privateers.
Some convoys contained several hundred merchant ships.
The most enduring system of convoys were the Spanish treasure fleets, that sailed from the 1520s until 1790.
The fee paying Catholic school in the capital is the alma mater of an array of high-profile former pupils, including former Belgian Prime Ministers, Hubert Pierlot and Henry Carton de Wiart, as well as other members of the royal family.