HC Deb 28 January 1930 vol 234 cc833-4

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that preferential railway rates are being given to goods from the Rhine provinces to the port of Bremen by the German State railways; that this is diverting a considerable amount of traffic from the ports of Rotterdam and Amsterdam, and is thereby detrimental to British-owned shipping, who use the latter ports and are debarred from using the port of Bremen; and whether, in view of existing trade agreements between Great Britain and Germany, he will inquire into this matter with a view to making representations?


The German State Railways have for many years given in respect of goods sent to German ports preferential rates over goods sent to Dutch ports. I am advised that this practice is not contrary to Germany's existing treaty obligations. As British shipping can trade with Bremen as freely as with Rotterdam and Amsterdam, and a considerable amount of trade with Bremen is at present carried by British ships, I am not clear what detriment to British shipping the hon. Member has in mind, but perhaps he will give me particulars.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that an increase in the subsidy on goods carried on the State railways has been made recently as against goods carried on the waterway of the Rhine, and that it has had a very detrimental effect on the shipping of the Humber ports?


I have no details in relation to that point, but, even if the facts were as represented by the hon. Member, I should still doubt whether I had any power of representation. There is nothing in that inconsistent with the Treaty obligations.