§ 83. Mr. James Hall
asked the Minister of Transport what classes of merchandise are covered by the schedule of rates agreed upon between the coastwise liner companies and the railway companies and the routes to which these rates apply?
§ Mr. Burgin
The agreement between the coastwise liner shipping companies and the railway companies is a voluntary one and is understood to cover the carriage of goods in Classes 7 to 20 of the General Railway Classification of Merchandise and Livestock between the ports and other places in Great Britain where the interests of the two parties are common.
§ 84. Mr. Hall
asked the Minister of Transport whether he has any figures to show the extent to which coastwise shipping traffic has been diverted to the railways; and whether, in view of the statements in the Memorandum presented by the Chamber of Shipping to the Traffic Advisory Council as to the methods adopted by the railway companies to divert traffic from the sea, he will indicate what steps he is taking to develop the coastwise shipping service, in view of the economic advantage of water-borne traffic in peace time and the vulnerability of the railways to attack from the air in time of war?
§ Mr. Burgin
As regards the first part of the question, I have no particulars to show whether and, if so, to what extent, traffic has been diverted from coastwise shipping to railways. The second part of the question is a matter for my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade, but I may point out that coastwise shipping traffic, as measured by the official statistics of arrivals and departures of vessels with cargo in the coasting trade of Great Britain, has substantially increased during recent years.
§ Sir J. Nall
Is that not due to the effect of increasing competition by foreign-owned coastwise ships?