The network of French national roads in 1933 was 80,000 km. (39,892 in 1922). The railway network had reached 44,000 km in 1934.
An extensive electrification program is taking place and, at the end of 1936, 2,870 km. in the great communication lines they were electrically powered. To these are added the 211 km. of the Paris-Le Mans line, in operation since 1937. Among the recently built lines, the following should be noted: Saint-Dié-Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines, which, crossing the Vosges with a tunnel of 6.8 km., the longest in France, it connects the Alsatian network to that of the East. The Société nationale des chemins de fer has been in operation since January 1938, merging the state network with other minorities.
Merchant Navy. – The French merchant navy continues to remain in the same place as in 1914 and 1929, among other worlds; that is, at the 6th; as far as the consistency is concerned, compared to the 3,566,227 tons. of 1931, was reduced, as of June 30, 1937, to 1366 ships per ton. gross 2,870,249 (Lloyd’s Register, ed. 1937-1938). Steamships still prevail in this fleet: 1101 per ton. 2,519,112. Moreover, compared to the past, there is a more notable development of motor ships (there are 194 of them for 324,576 tons under the French flag). However, while the proportion of motorized vessels owned in the world rises to 20.7% of the total consistency, the percentage of French vessels in comparison to the total vessels under that flag rises to only 11.3%.
The defects already noted with regard to the French nautical material still remain: low speed and old age. The average age, in fact, which was 14 years in 1929, has passed to 15 ½; while on the 2,800,000 tons. of national ships of unit tonnage over 100 tons. currently existing 1,600,000 tons. have passed 15 years. In addition to the global crisis, this situation is attributable to the social burdens, more especially incidents on the French navy compared to the majority of its competitors.
According to Topb2bwebsites, the yards work little; while in fact the ships under construction in the world increased from 1 ½ million tons. in December 1936 to 3 million in September 1937, the one launched in the 14 national shipyards in 1936 was only 42 thousand tons. Extremely serious inactivity, because an organic fleet reconstruction program would require the setting of 160 thousand tons. per year.
The French protectionist system has been intensified especially with regard to maritime credit; more preference was also given to national shipping; finally, a provision of assistance to the free navy was issued, namely the Tasso law of 12 July 1934 which was to expire within two years but which, extended several times, will expire on 31 December 1938. For this purpose 89,900,000 francs are allocated in the budget 1938: 35 million are allocated as interest subsidies for loans to shipowners, 14 million as a subsidy to lines on Corsica, 265 million to the “Messageries Maritimes”; 135 to the “ Compagnie Générale Transatlantique” and 32 to the “Sud Atlantique”.
The French super- Atlantic Normandie belongs to the Transatlantique which, in March 1937, regained the blue ribbon by crossing the Atlantic from the Ambrose lighthouse (New York) across Bishop’s Rock, at a speed of 30.99 knots compared to 30.63 knots. from the English Queen Mary. These times were improved by Normandie himself in July 1937; it reached 31.20 knots from New York in Europe and 30.58 in the opposite direction.
Civil aviation. – In 1933, France merged the various shipping companies into a single company, Air France. This is a limited company governed by the Commercial Aviation Statute. Its air network is spread over the following lines, across 4 continents, for a length of about 40,000 kilometers; Toulouse – Barcelona – Alicante – Tangier – Rabat – Casablanca (km.1845); Marseille-Barcelona (km.495); Casablanca-Dakar-Natal-Rio de Janeiro-Montevideo-Buenos Aires-Santiago del Chile (km. 12,035); Marseille-Alicante-Algiers (km. 803); Paris-Prague-Vienna and Vienna-Budapest-Belgrade-Bucharest (total for the line 2241 km); Prague-Wroclaw-Warsaw (km. 530); Paris-Brussels-Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam (km.460); Paris-Cologne-Berlin (km.880); Brussels-Essen-Hamburg-Copenhagen-Malmö-Stockholm (km. 1335); Marseille-Beirut-Damascus-Baghdād – Basra – Bouchir – Djask – Gwadar – Karachi – Calcutta – Rangoon – Bangkok – Saigon-Hanoi (km.13,494); Paris-London (km.375); Paris-Lyon-Marseille (km.730); Lyon-Cannes (350 km): Lyon-Geneva (113 km); Marseille-Ajaccio-Tunis (1000 km); Paris-Bordeaux-Madrid (km.1075).
The Air France fleet includes 100 airliners.
In addition to Air France, there is the company Air Afrique, which in order to be a state network is governed by a particular statute, different from that of commercial companies. Air Afrique operates the following lines:
Algiers-Brazzaville-Madagascar (km.10.600); Tunis-Casablanca (1700 kilometers).