HC Deb 25 January 1967 vol 739 cc1491-2
16. Mr. Wingfield Digby

asked the Minister of Transport, in view of the rapid development of Rotterdam as the principal European container port, what steps she is taking to encourage the early building of deep water berths to handle containers in ports either on the English or Bristol Channels, in addition to Tilbury.

Mrs. Castle

In accordance with my policy of encouraging the modernisation of our ports, including the provision of container facilities where appropriate, I have authorised the British Transport Docks Board to build a 1,000 ft. container berth at Southampton, and a deep-water berth already under construction at Newport will be provided with container facilities if prospective traffic justifies it.

Mr. Digby

Is the right hon. Lady aware that any decision on this subject is highly welcome, but that we will want more time to look at the details? Is she further aware that in view of the rapid progress at Rotterdam, Antwerp and Le Havre it is essential for the future of British shipping that these facilities should be built without delay?

Mrs. Castle

I entirely agree with the hon. Member that we do not want to be left behind in the container revolution.

Mr. R. C. Mitchell

I am grateful for the Minister's Answer about the new container facilities at Southampton, but can she say whether there is any likelihood of further development in the port of Southampton, as envisaged in the interim plan of the Ports Council, and if so when it is likely to come?

Mrs. Castle

I shall be making an announcement in due course about the provision of further container facilities, but I cannot at the moment add to what I have said about Southampton.

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