§ 22. Mr. John Hall
asked the Minister of Transport if he is aware of the increasing traffic congestion in the London Docks that is causing long and expensive waiting time for vehicles which is likely to be worsened by the 1126 closing of the Export Reception Dock for small consignments at Royal Victoria Dock; and what proposals he has for dealing with this problem.
§ Mr. Marples
Traffic arrangements inside the docks are a matter for the Port of London Authority. It tells me that it is going to keep open the reception depot for a further six months to see whether greater use is made of it by traders. The Authority does not agree that congestion is increasing in the docks, but it is alive to the need for improvement.
§ Mr. Hall
I welcome the news that the closing of this reception depot is to be postponed for six months. Is my right hon. Friend aware that the conditions of congestion at the docks are not improving but getting far worse, and that there are delays of 48 hours? Does not this add considerably to the cost of exporting and thus discourage many firms who wish to start to export?
§ Mr. Marples
The information which I have from the Port of London Authority is contrary to what my hon. Friend has said. The most effective method of reducing the congestion would be to provide for a more even flow of export cargo to the docks. The Port of London Authority is trying to arrange this, but it is very difficult, because exporters think that if they get to the docks at the last moment, their goods are taken off the ship first at the point of arrival. This causes half the difficulty.