HC Deb 15 June 1965 vol 714 cc229-30
17. Mr. Bence

asked the Minister of Technology what consideration he has given to the development of mechanical-handling devices in the transport industry.

Mr. Marsh

The Ministry of Technology does carry out and support some research work of relevance to materials handling. As my hon. Friend is aware, transport undertakings have given, and are giving, a great deal of attention to this matter.

Mr. Bence

Is my hon. Friend aware that one respect in which the modernisation of British industry can take place and where great economies can be made is in the trans-shipment of goods from one form of transport to the other? Will he undertake an extensive survey of the shortcomings in our country in the transshipment of goods?

Mr. Marsh

A number of inquiries of this type are taking place. My right hon. Friend will be happy to consider, in consultation with the Minister of Transport, whether his Department can be of any further assistance in this matter.

Mr. Gresham Cooke

Would the hon. Gentleman say what consideration he has given to the development of fork-lift trucks and other mechanical handling devices in connection with transport in the docks, and what is being done to modernise the system and to bring our docks up to date with European docks?

Mr. Marsh

The Ministry is represented on the research council of the National Ports Council. The Ministry is engaged in considering just these problems.

Mr. Charles Morrison

What consideration has the hon. Gentleman given to the mechanical handling of baggage, particularly at London Airport when members of the Transport and General Workers Union are on strike?

Mr. Marsh

If hon. Members were to ask questions which were intended to be serious, they would be entitled to serious anwers to them.