HC Deb 08 March 1850 vol 109 c534

rose to ask the right hon. the President of the Board of Trade to give some explanation of the discrepancy which appears in the accounts of the coasting trade, as rendered in the trade and navigation returns by the Board of Trade, and shows an apparent excess of clearances outwards over the entries inwards, both in the number of vessels and amount of tonnage.


replied, that, as the hon. Member had given notice of his question, he had communicated with the Board of Customs on the subject, and he should, as the shortest and clearest mode of answering the hon. Gentleman's question, road the letter that he had received in consequence of his inquiries upon this subject. It was as follows:— When the trade between Great Britain and Ireland was placed on the footing of a coasting trade, in 1826, it was settled (by Mr. Huskisson) that it would present an exaggerated view of the intercourse, if the tonnage employed were given both ways. The accounts, therefore, show the clearances from Great Britain for Ireland, and the entries in ports of Great Britain from Ireland, and exclude the returns from the Irish ports. The great difference in the number and tonnage between those clearances and entries arises from the fact that the shipments to Ireland are much greater in bulk than our receipts from Ireland. Many ships that clear coastwise from Great Britain for Ireland either return in ballast—in which case they do not report at the Custom Houses—or they go forward from Ireland upon foreign voyages. Great numbers of vessels go with coals from the Tyne and Wear to Ireland, and then go forward to British America in ballast for timber. The difference between the clearances and entries in the coasting trade between the ports of Great Britain arises thus:—If a vessel is engaged to proceed to an outport to load a cargo for a foreign country, there being no bonding stores at the outport, she takes her stores of that nature (spirits, tea, &c.) from the port where she is engaged (say London or Liverpool), and enters coastwise for the outport where she takes in cargo, and in which port she is considered as arriving in ballast, so that no entry is made of her at the Custom House of that port.