HC Deb 20 July 1955 vol 544 c361
20. Mr. Braine

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies why considerably less delay is experienced in getting shipments into the port of Mombasa when goods are shipped from Continental ports than when shipped from British ports; and what action is being taken to ensure fair treatment to firms exporting from this country.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Shipping quotas for goods for Mombasa from British and Continental ports have been established on the basis of 1951 performance. The comparatively greater delay in shipment from British ports is caused by the fact that the demand for British goods in East Africa has increased more sharply since 1951 than the demand for Continental goods. Attempts to review the quota system would not, in my opinion, result in more advantageous arrangements for British firms.

Mr. Braine

Would my right hon. Friend look into this matter again? My information is that the delay there in shipping from Continental ports is about half that of shipping from British ports. That means that British exporters exporting on small margins of profit cannot trans-ship from Continental ports and are disadvantaged as a result compared with their Continental competitors. That is a very serious matter in an expanding market.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Of course, we have had conversations with the East African section of the London Chamber of Commerce. Its view is that reconsideration of these quotas would not turn out to our advantage. The real answer is to increase the capacity of Mombasa. I am very glad to see from the observations of the chairman of the Mombasa Port Phasing Committee that there is a strong likelihood of this happening.

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