HC Deb 11 August 1919 vol 119 cc869-71
34. Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that large quantities of oil seeds, copra, and kernels are still being landed at London and Liverpool and conveyed by rail to Hull, Where they are crushed; and whether, in view of the congestion of the ports of London and Liverpool and the shortage of rolling stock, he is taking any steps to divert a proportion of these cargoes direct to Hull?


I have been asked to reply. I have no knowledge of the extent to which oil seeds, etc., are being conveyed by rail to Hull, but the practice will apply to parcels discharged out of liners carrying the majority of their cargo to London and not to whole cargoes. In these circumstances, diversion of the steamers to Hull is impracticable. It must not be forgotten that London is one of the most important markets of the world for the disposal of produce shipped to this country both sold and unsold, and the preservation of this market is of great national importance. Steps are being taken which it is hoped will reduce the demands which the carriage of this traffic makes on the railway facilities of the country.

Lieut-Commander KENWORTHY

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that over 4,000 tons have been carried by rail since the Armistice, and would it not be possible for some of this to be sent by coastwise traffic, and so relieve the railways?

Colonel WILSON

That is the intention of the new arrangement. We are endeavouring to have the coastwise traffic used more fully and frequently than in the past.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that there was a direct import of copra into Hull before the War and that it has now been killed?

Colonel WILSON

Yes, that is so; but it has nothing to do with the Ministry of Shipping. If they were whole cargoes, they would still come in, but they were part cargoes which came to London and Liverpool and then went to Hull.

Colonel YATE

Will the hon. and gallant Gentleman do something to improve the canal traffic between those two places?

Colonel WILSON

I am afraid that does not arise out of the question.


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in the case of copra exported from Australia to Hull, the Commonwealth steamers are not able to bring shipments of copra though they have regular monthly sailings direct to Hull; whether this is due to the Conference line arrangements and freight rebate system, which are interfering with the natural flow of cargoes to Hull, and result in the congestion of London and Liverpool and wastage of land transport; and what steps the Government propose to take in the matter?

Colonel WILSON

I have been asked to reply. I have no information that any steamers sailing from Australia to Hull are unable to bring copra to that port. If my hon. and gallant Friend will furnish me with particulars, I will cause inquiry to be made into the matter.


Could we have this freight rebate system, which is the cause of steamers being unable to go to Hull, removed, at any rate, so far as the Commonwealth steamers are concerned?

Colonel WILSON

If my hon. and gallant Friend will give me any particulars of any cases in which copra has not been allowed to go to Hull because of this or any other reason, I will have inquiry made.

Back to