HC Deb 12 November 1953 vol 520 cc1131-2
30. Mr. Blackburn

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a further statement about the difficulties which our exporters are experiencing in the East African trade.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

I am not sure what the hon. Member has in mind, but if he is referring to the difficulties at the port of Mombasa I would refer him to the reply that I gave on 22nd October to my hon. Friend the Member for Solihull (Mr. M. Lindsay) when I explained that the port was being enlarged and that the full benefit should be felt next year. If the hon. Member has some other difficulty in mind, I shall be glad to look into it.

Mr. Blackburn

Does the President not agree that it should be a matter of great concern to his Department that the time lag between applications for and the allocation of shipping space should be from nine to 12 months in this country compared with two to three weeks on the Continent? Further, does he not agree, since a large proportion of the exports from this country are concerned with materials for the construction of the Port of Mombasa that that fact should have been taken into account by the placing committee?

Mr. Thorneycroft

I believe it is important to everyone concerned with trade in that area, but I do not accept it as a fact that the system works in favour of the Continent in respect of all items. The port is being increased in size from a capacity of 100,000 tons per month in 1952 to 150,000 tons per month in 1956, and we should all see the benefit of this in the fairly near future.