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Shipping Industry

Volume 79: debated on Monday 20 May 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Transport what was the fall in deadweight tonnes of the United Kingdom-owned and registered merchant fleet between May 1979 and the end of 1984.

The United Kingdom-owned and registered fleet of merchant vessels of 500 gross tons and over fell by 20·5 million deadweight tonnes between May 1979 and the end of 1984.

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what recent representations he has received from (a) the General Council of British Shipping and (b) the National Union of Seamen about the future of the British maritime industry.

I have had a number of meetings and exchanges of correspondence with the General Council of British Shipping and the National Union of Seamen, most of which have in one way or another borne on the future of the United Kingdom shipping industry.

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what policy initiative he plans in order to promote an expansion of the share of the United Kingdom's coastal trade taken by merchant ships registered in the United Kingdom.

The Government plan no such policy initiative. Our efficient coastal fleet is quite capable of defending its substantial share of this trade without intervention by the Government. Where we can—and will—help this fleet is by securing access to the closed coastal trades of our Community partners.