Global maritime business networks channeled the flows of people and goods for modern production and consumption societies. The principal instrument for constructing and sustaining these networks was the business trip. In the course of their travels, shipping-company and trading-company executives founded new commercial networks, established new routes and services, inspected agents, gathered business intelligence, and promoted new contacts and connections. These trips relied on a business culture that combined cosmopolitanism with national preferences and competitiveness with gentlemanly codes. Personal relationships remained fundamental to the networking process, despite a bureaucratization of business structures. An examination of the business trips of Belgian, British, Dutch, French, and German maritime firms reveals the centrality of global networks in modern economies, shows how such networks were constructed and maintained, and argues that face-to-face relationships continued to characterize business life deep into the twentieth century.