HC Deb 23 November 1926 vol 200 cc196-8
4. Lord APSLEY

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he has any statistics which show the extent to which the freights of British shipping companies have been increased since 1st May last; and whether he can state the extent to which these increased charges are paid by British consumers and in respect of what articles?


The answer is a long one, and my hon. Friend will perhaps agree to my circulating it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

The following is the answer:

The demand for vessels to carry coal from the United States, and from some European ports, to this country has led to an advance in freight rates on various other classes of goods. The in- creased rates are charged for conveyance by foreign-owned as well as by British-owned ships, and affect particularly those routes by which coal is being carried to the United Kingdom and other routes from which shipping can he most readily diverted to the coal routes. Last spring grain rates were very low, being quoted, for example, at 1s. 6d. per quarter from New York to Liverpool, and by the middle of November the average of the North Atlantic rates was 7s. 9d. per quarter, or rather more than four times the spring average, which had been Is. 11d. The rate on flour from New York to Liverpool increased in the same period, from is. 8d. to 4s. 1d. per sack of 280 lbs. The rate on cotton from New York to Liverpool was in October about 2s. 8½d. per 100 lbs., an increase since the spring of 44 per cent., but by 19th November it had fallen slightly to 2s. 6d.—2s. 8½d.

On the other hand, liner freights on provisions and measurement goods from New York to Liverpool were not altered till the end of October. I have no later quotations. Freights on wheat from the River Plate increased by about 191 per cent. between the end of April and the middle of November, and those from Australia by about 91 per cent. The average increase per ton of wheat from North America was 27s. 3d. per ton, from the River Plate 32s. per ton, from Australia 24s. 1½d. per ton., and from the Danube 23s. 3d.; the differences are due partly to the length of the route and partly to the demand on shipping space for other purposes than the carriage of wheat. Between April and mid-November or latest date of quotation the rates of freight on maize from the Cape increased by 47 per cent., on timber from Finland by 60 to 71 per cent., on timber from Canada by 27 per cent., on heavy grain from the Plate by 79 per cent., on heavy grain from the North Pacific by 45 per cent., on sugar from Cuba by 105 per cent., on sugar from Mauritius by 25 per cent., on dead-weight cargo from Bombay by 159 per cent., on measurement cargo from Alexandria by 177 per cent., on phosphate from Bona by 119 per cent., and on beans etc., from Dalny and Vladivostok by 14 per cent.

The rate on oil from the Gulf of Mexico to the United Kingdom remained unaltered at 27s. 6d. per ton till the end of October and then rose to 42s. 6d. on 19th November. It will thus be seen that the increases were quite irregular. The effect of increased freight charges on the final cost of the goods, in making which materials subject to such charges are used, is a complex problem which cannot conveniently be handled within the limits of a Parliamentary answer.