HC Deb 11 December 1950 vol 482 cc786-7
3. Mr. Shepherd

asked the Minister of Transport the measures that have been taken to improve the turn-round of ships at docks in the United Kingdom; and whether he has information which will indicate the effectiveness of such measures.

Mr. Barnes

The recommendations of the Working Party on the Turn-Round of Shipping were drawn to the attention of all concerned and follow-up action taken. The report of the subsequent Working Party on Increased Mechanisation in Ports is being considered by the appropriate organisations. Since the original Working Party reported, a large number of works designed to improve ships' turn-round have been carried out in the ports and new cranes and other cargo handling equipment have been provided. No reliable statistics are available on which a comparison with the immediate post-war position can be based, but I understand that there has been in general, an improvement.

Mr. Shepherd

Is the Minister able to say what the turn-round is today compared with pre-war; and what it is compared with Continental ports, with whom we have sometimes to compete?

Mr. Barnes

There are no reliable statistics available for comparison with the immediate pre-war period. I gather, however, from those in charge of the ports, that there has been an improvement.

Mr. Llewellyn

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there are certain ports, such as Cardiff, which are half empty, and where the turn-round is quicker than in other ports, which are overworked?

Mr. Peter Thorneycroft

If there are no reliable statistics, would the right hon. Gentleman collect some, so that we can see an authoritative comparison between the turn-round times in British ports and the turn-round times in some Continental ports with whom we are competing?

Mr. Barnes

Comparison with Continental ports now would be another matter. It would, no doubt, produce valuable information, but in view of the fact that the authorities have no pre-war information it may be difficult to collect it. However, we are giving a good deal of attention to this matter, and some progress has been made.