§ 39. and 40. Sir ARNOLD WILSON
asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) what is the sterling equivalent of Suez Canal dues per Suez Canal ton for the years 1934 and 1935 and for the 11 months of 1936; and whether he has received any representations from shipowners or shippers or from the Dominions, Colonies, or Mandated Territories of recent years with respect to the continued high level of these dues;
(2) whether he has been in communication with any foreign Power as to the present high level of Suez Canal dues; and whether the British Government representatives on the board have received any fresh instructions to press for a reduction of dues in the interest of British commerce with the East?
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the BOARD of TRADE (Dr. Burgin)
The average sterling equivalents of the Suez Canal tonnage dues from 1st January, 1934, till 7th July, 1935, were 7s. 6d. per Suez Canal ton for loaded vessels, and 3s. 9d. for vessels in ballast. From 8th July, 1935, the rates have been fixed in sterling. They were 7s. 6d. per ton for loaded vessels and 3s. 9d. for vessels in ballast until 30th June, 1936, and were reduced as from 1st July, 1936, to 7s. and 3s. 6d. respectively. The rates of tonnage dues are fixed by the Suez Canal Company. So far as His Majesty's Government are concerned, it is well recognised that the shipping community wish to see the dues reduced to as low a level as practicable, and the Government directors are fully aware of this desire. The company have had under consideration the possibility of a further reduction of dues in the near future, and 1631 my right hon. Friend is informed that, following a meeting of the board of the company to-day, the dues will be reduced as from 1st April, 1937, to 6s. for loaded vessels and 3s. for vessels in ballast. The answer to the first part of Question No. 40 is in the negative.