Along the oil-soaked quays of Hamburg, West Germany's biggest port, 200,000 people cheered wildly last week as the S.S. Hanseatic hove into view, ending its maiden voyage to New York exactly on schedule. For Hamburg and all of West Germany, the voyage was indeed cause for celebration. The newest, biggest (30,029 gross tons), fastest (21 knots) liner under the German flag, the Hanseatic represents a mighty step forward in a mighty comeback for West Germany's merchant marine. For the first time, total tonnage has climbed above prewar levels.

Taxes & Tourists. With many former German shipyards now in Communist territory,...

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