Lines of development
Lines and liners
Some shipping companies set out to operate ships regularly between certain ports, and adopted the name `line`. This impressed shippers or passengers as it suggested they had a `line` of ships almost stretching between the ports they served!
Not all shipping companies operated lines. Some deliberately avoided it, and sent their ships wherever they could pick up a profitable cargo. Because they roamed the oceans in search of a living, their ships were called `tramps`.
`Golfito` And `Camito`: cargo and passenger ships
When oil became an important fuel in the 20th Century, oil companies and others built tankers to carry petroleum from the oilfields in North America or the Middle East to the refineries. Although they operate on very definite routes, i.e. Kuwait to Rotterdam, the oil companies never called themselves `lines`.
Strictly speaking, cruise ships should not be called `liners` either, as their passengers end up in the same place they start from.
Despite the term `line` meaning `regular service` it is used popularly to refer to almost any shipping company, including one which operates tramps or their modern equivalent, the bulk carrier, or runs cruise ships.