HC Deb 10 December 1941 vol 376 c1508
19. Mr. Craik Henderson

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport whether he has considered the shipbuilding programme of the United States of America for cargo ships with speeds of 14 or 15½ knots; and whether he proposes to encourage a higher speed than is now usual here in our future construction of at least a proportion of cargo ships?

Colonel Llewellin

The United States' pre-war shipbuilding programme provides for the construction of cargo ships of a speed of 14 knots and upwards. It has now been supplemented by an emergency programme for the construction of ships whose speed is comparable with that of the cargo tramps we are building. In addition to our cargo tramp building substantial numbers of cargo liners of speeds of 14 knots upwards are being built.

Commander Sir Archibald Southby

Does not my right hon. and gallant Friend appreciate that it is the low speed of the tramp steamer which makes convoys so difficult?

Colonel Llewellin

I fully appreciate that, but it is very much quicker to turn out these tramps than to turn out ocean liners with the rate of speed.