HC Deb 08 February 1967 vol 740 cc1630-1
13. Mr. Wingfield Digby

asked the President of the Board of Trade what percentages of imports and exports, respectively, are now packed in containers.

Mr. J. P. W. Mallalieu

This information is not at present available but the proportion is believed still to be very small.

Mr. Wingfield Digby

Is it not likely that this percentage will increase enormously? Is the Minister in touch with other Departments to ensure that adequate preparations are made?

Mr. Mallalieu

I hope and believe that the percentage will increase largely. We are in touch with other Departments. From this year onwards, we are getting all the information for which the hon. Member is asking. This will, of course, apply to subsequent years also.

Mr. Crawshaw

Is my hon. Friend aware that Liverpool had the export record last year and that in the next few years new quayside facilities will be introduced purely for this type of container service? May I ask my hon. Friend to speak to his right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport and point out that if we do not get a motorway in the next year or two, the port facilities will grind to a halt rather than increase?

Mr. Mallalieu

I am aware of the point made by my hon. Friend in the first part of his supplementary question. The second part is another question, but I will certainly talk to my right hon. Friend.

Sir J. Eden

Will the Minister tackle this whole question with much greater urgency than he appears to be doing? Does he recognise the great importance of developing this container service? Will he ensure that there is proper co-ordination between the other Departments of Government to make sure that there are satisfactory road and rail links with the developing ports?

Mr. Mallalieu

I recognise that it is important and I will do that.