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Export Cars (Shipment Suspension)

Volume 439: debated on Monday 30 June 1947

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asked the Minister of Transport what report he has received on the temporary suspension of certain British exports, including Austin motor cars, to Switzerland, as a result of transport difficulties.

My hon. Friend no doubt refers to a temporary suspension imposed on 19th June, of the export of motor cars via Newhaven. Early in the year the railway company fixed a quota of shipping space for export, based on the number of cars then being exported, leaving the remaining space for tourists cars. During May and June the number of cars for export by this route increased very considerably without warning. The situation was aggravated by congestion at Dieppe owing to the strike on the French railways, and by the fact that many cars arrive at the port without the relevant shipping documents. On the morning of 20th June, 108 cars were awaiting shipment at Newhaven, of which only 51 were accompanied by the necessary documents. Further bookings of tourist cars were at once stopped, but it was necessary also to impose a temporary embargo on the forwarding of cars for export until 27th June when the accumulation had been cleared. In view of the increased traffic the railway company are increasing permanently the quota for export cars from Newhaven, are endeavouring to arrange additional sailings from that port, and are exploring the possibilities of increasing capacity for the traffic through Dover or Folkestone.