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Parcel Post (Persia)

Volume 65: debated on Thursday 30 July 1914

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asked the Postmaster-General whether, in view of the fact that the bulk of the British export trade with Northern Persia is carried on by parcel post, he will take steps to reduce the cost of postage involved by instituting a cheaper parcel post service by way of Liverpool and Batoum to Northern Persia in place of the present service via Julfa, whence the Persian post office forwards to Tabriz, at a rate of not less than £8 per ton, making the total cost from England to Tabriz about £50 a ton, a rate which effectually strangles British in competition with Russian trade?

In the absence of a parcel post agreement between this country and Russia, the parcel post with North Persia can only be conducted through the intermediary of some third administration having agreements both with this country and with Russia. The present service is carried on under the agreement between the United Kingdom and Germany, all parcels being forwarded to Germany for onward transmission by such routes as Germany employs for her own service. Negotiations for an agreement with Russia have been in progress for some time past, and, in the event of their successful issue, it would probably be possible to set up a parcel post by way of Liverpool and Batoum. I fear, however, that such a service would serve no useful purpose. Apart from the consideration that it would necessarily be very slow and infrequent, as compared with the present daily service by the overland route, the postage on a parcel of the maximum weight (11 lbs.) sent by the suggested route would be actually higher than that on a similar parcel sent by the existing service.

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that the present route is strangling British trade in competition with Russian trade?

Why does the right hon. Gentleman say that, when it would be very much cheaper?