HC Deb 07 April 1925 vol 182 cc1999-2000
5 and 6. Mr. CECIL WILSON

asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) whether he is aware that the minimum freight rate for steel, wire and tools from Germany is 10s., whereas from England it is 21s., that with a small trial order of the value of four or five pounds English manufacturers have to pay about 25 per cent. of the value to the shippers; and whether he can undertake that this matter shall be investigated in order to relieve this handicap on English manufacturers:

(2) whether he is aware that the rate for certain goods direct from Liverpool to Bilbao/Santander was 40s. per ton, whilst the rate from Hull via Antwerp was only 30s. per ton; that the rate to Barcelona, Valencia and Alicante direct from Liverpool was 50s. per ton, whilst the rate via Hull and Antwerp was only 32s. 6d., and that, in this case, the goods were shipped on to the same British Conference steamers that they would have been loaded on to at Hull, so that the same shipping companies were obtaining 50s. per ton from Liverpool to Barcelona and only 16s. per ton from Antwerp to Barcelona; can he state what the reason is for this difference; and, if not, whether he will set up a committee of inquiry to investigate the reason why there is such a severe handicap on British exports


The attention of the Board of Trade has frequently been drawn to the differences between the freights charged from Continental ports and those from British ports to the same destination. The examples given in the questions are, I am informed, substantially correct. The reason given is that Continental lines are able from various causes to carry at a lower cost than their British competitors, and British lines have to carry at the Continental rates if they are to secure any of the business from Continental ports. The matter is watched carefully by the Department, and chambers of commerce have been in consultation with shipping lines; and there are indications that the disparity between United Kingdom rates and Continental rates is being reduced. In these circumstances, I do not think that it would be advisable to appoint a Committee of Inquiry.