HC Deb 24 November 1936 vol 318 cc217-8
42. Colonel ROPNER

asked the President of the Board of Trade how much neutral tonnage was employed by the British Government during the War and immediate post-war period until the Government had redelivered all neutral tonnage; what were the rates of hire and total sum paid for its services; how far were such services procured by the exercise of what was known as bunker control; what were the corresponding rates paid by His Majesty's Government for requisitioned tonnage; and what were the world market rates which free neutral tonnage could obtain in the market?


According to available records, the amount of neutral tonnage (excluding tankers) employed in the import service of the United Kingdom was as follows:

On 31st July, 1918–270,000 tons deadweight.

On 31st March, 1919–373,000 tons deadweight.

The rates of hire averaged 35s. per ton deadweight on a net form of time charter. The corresponding average rates of hire for requisitioned tonnage were about one-fifth or one-sixth of this figure. The corresponding world market rate as published in the Press ranged between 23s. and 43s. in 1918. No information is now available as to the total sum paid, nor is it possible to say how far the services of neutral tonnage were secured by bunker control or by other means of pressure available to the Government at that time.