HC Deb 20 January 1965 vol 705 cc196-7
28 and 30. Mr. Gower

asked the Minister of Transport (1) what study he has made of recent correspondence from the hon. Member for Barry regarding the consequences upon companies importing oil through Barry Docks of docks charges which are higher than elsewhere; and what applications for revision of limitations on port dues he has received from parties having a substantial interest in this matter;

(2) whether he is aware of complaints that oil companies have to pay higher docks charges at South Wales ports than are payable in docks in other parts of the United Kingdom; and if he will give a general direction to the British Transport Docks Board, requiring them to equalise charges at all their docks.

Mr. Tom Fraser

The level of these charges is a management matter in which I cannot intervene. I have written to the hon. Member explaining the position in more detail.

Mr. Gower

In view of the many cases in recent years of delay due to congestion at particular ports, does not the Joint Parliamentary Secretary deem it rather absurd that shipping should be deterred from using the port of Barry—and, indeed, all the South Wales ports—by charges which are higher than at other ports belonging to the British Transport Docks Board?

Mr. Fraser

I have no reason at all to believe that traffic is diverted from Barry because of higher charges there. I understand that no complaint has been made by users to the British Transport Docks Board about the charges at Barry; and if no complaint has been made to the Board and since no complaint has ever come to me—indeed, I did not know about any of this until the hon. Gentleman's Questions appeared on the Order Paper—I think the hon. Gentleman is stretching himself overmuch in attempting to make out a case with which to attack the Docks Board.