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Tea Imports (Freight Space)

Volume 441: debated on Wednesday 6 August 1947

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asked the Minister of Food how it came about that the P. and O. ship "Ranchi," under requisition to the Ministry of Transport, on her last voyage from Singapore when calling at Colombo was refused permission to bring home a cargo of tea awaiting shipment, in consequence of which she arrived at her home port in ballast early in July; and whether stocks of tea in this country are so large that no further consignments can be accepted.

I am informed that this vessel arrived in Colombo during the early stages of the recent strike at that port when the harbour was congested and the only dock work permitted by the strikers was the unloading of imports essential to the maintenance of life in the Island. The "Ranchi" remained at Colombo for several days, was eventually ordered by the port controller to leave, and returned to this country without any commercial cargo. Because of the shortage of tea in this country and to speed arrivals, I have asked all shipping lines to make freight space for tea available at Calcutta and Colombo whenever it is possible to do so.