HC Deb 10 March 1965 vol 708 cc411-2
17. Mr. G. Campbell

asked the Minister of Transport what priority he is giving in Her Majesty's Government's plans for technological advances to technological advances which would improve operations in the London and other docks and thus assist United Kingdom overseas trade.

Mr. Tom Fraser

The Research Committee of the National Ports Council is formulating a programme of research. This will be pushed ahead with all possible speed.

Mr. Campbell

Is the Minister aware that on 19th January, in this House, the Prime Minister spoke of the need for modernisation and the greater use of computers in the docks? While I recognise that this is only one aspect of the necessary improvement, will the Minister give this matter serious consideration in view of recent events?

Mr. Fraser

Yes, Sir. I have been in close communication with the dock and harbour authorities and the National Ports Council on this matter. We will do our utmost within the resources available to us to apply to the docks all the advances in technology known to us with a view to speeding the flow of trade.

Mr. Powell

Does the Minister recognise that not less important than the problem of finding methods of handling on the docks is the problem of finding incentives to get the dock authorities to apply them? Secondly, when does the Minister expect that the preliminary statement on progress with the docks, which he foreshadowed in reply to me on 20th January, may be forthcoming?

Mr. Fraser

I do not have before me a note of the promise I made about the docks on 20th January. I should like to look at it and get in touch with the right hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Galbraith

Does the Minister agree with the views reported in The Times yesterday by Sir Arthur Kirby for improving dock handling?

Mr. Fraser

I have very close contact with Sir Arthur Kirby, but it would be wrong of me, in answer to Question No. 17 today, if I were to comment on a paper read by Sir Arthur Kirby two nights ago

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