HC Deb 09 April 1986 vol 95 cc116-7W
Mr. Peter Rees

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what progress has been made over BFS access to Belgian ports; and what are his conclusions about his possible use of section 14 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1974.

Mr. Ridley

I met the Belgian Minister of Communications together with representatives of the other Belgian parties concerned in Brussels immediately before Easter to seek to resolve this question. This proved to be a constructive meeting at which a number of possibilities for an early BFS service to Belgium were discussed. BFS is free to start a service to the inner port of Zeebrugge immediately, and can start a service to the outer port as soon as new facilities have been completed. It was agreed that technical discussions between the commercial parties concerned were urgently required; and the Belgian Minister undertook to see how quickly BFS's requirements can be met. Both the Belgian Minister and I are confident that an acceptable solution can be found.

In these circumstances, I have concluded that it would not be appropriate to propose action under Section 14 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1974.

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