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Rotterdam (Harbour Construction)

Volume 65: debated on Thursday 30 July 1914

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the Dutch Government has granted to the Vulkan Company, which is a large German firm, the right to construct a private harbour near Rotterdam, close to the North Sea; and whether the Vulkan Company works in the closest conjunction with the German Government; whether this action on the part of the Dutch Government constitutes a departure from the principles which hitherto have governed the administration of all harbours, docks, and waterways in Holland, namely, that they should be under public control; and whether he has information which he can give on the subject?

I understand that the concession to the Vulkan Company to dredge and deepen the river beside the land at Vlaardingen already in their possession has been granted in principle, but I have no reason to suppose that this will in any way interfere with the control of the waterway by the Netherlands Government. I am informed that the company acquired the land for the purpose of transhipping ore from sea vessels into Rhine lighters, and I have no doubt that any other foreign company would have the right to obtain a similar concession.

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether any other company has obtained concessions for the Dutch, notably the Thyssen Company?

It is impossible to consult the First Lord of the Admiralty about a, concession to a private company.