HC Deb 11 May 1956 vol 552 cc129-30W
Mr. Russell

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the causes of port delays which were responsible for increasing the cost of operating the inter-island service of the s.s. "West Indian" in the Caribbean above the estimate; and what steps are being taken to overcome these delays.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

The increase of the operating costs of the "West Indian" over the estimate is only partly attributable to port delays. Where these have occurred they have been due in some cases to lack of facilities for alongside berthing, necessitating the use of boats and lighters for loading and discharging cargo; and in others to the fact that traffic has outgrown handling capacity. These difficulties are well understood by the West Indian Governments concerned and at several ports extensions and modernisation are planned. I understand that the company operating the "West Indian" was invited in February to make suggestions for improvement of turn-round, and any suggestions submitted will be considered by the Governments.