HC Deb 21 January 1924 vol 169 cc584-5W

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that there has recently been serious congestion of ships waiting to be discharged at Surrey Commercial Docks, and that at one period during the past fortnight as many as 24 steamers were waiting to discharge in the lower reaches of the Thames; and whether, in the view of his Department, this is due to a shortage of labour, or what is the reason for this hindrance to business?


I have been asked to answer this question. It is the case that there has recently been a number of ships waiting at Gravesend to enter the Surrey Commercial Docks to discharge timber. My information is that this congestion is mainly due to the dock strike which occurred last summer and which resulted in the normal flow of autumn timber arrivals being concentrated in a short space of time at the end of the year. It will be appreciated that the number of available men skilled in the handling of timber is limited, but I am glad to say that the Port of London Authority have been able to report this week that the number of ships awaiting discharge has been reduced to three.