Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
This article displays in one automatically-generated column. View the full page to see article in its original form.

RIVAL TRANSPORT

RAIL AND SHIPPING COMPETITION ASPECT COAST TRADE DWINDLES Invested with the powers of a commission, the committee of three set up by the Government to inquire into uneconomic competition between the railways and coastal shipping commenced sittings in Auckland yesterday. The committee donsists of M r H. B. Smith, assistant-Commissioner of Transport (chairman), Mr H. C. Langford, commercial manager of railways, and Captain S. Holm, chairman of the New Zealand Shipowners' Federation.

Submissions on the importance of coastal shipping to the economic stability and defence of New 'Zealand were made by Sir Ernest Davis, chairman of directors of the Northern Steamship Co., Ltd., Mr T. F. Anderson, secretary of the Auckland Seamen's Union, Mr F. S. Bertrand, a representative of the ship and boat-building and ship repair industry in Auckland, Mr J. H. Frater, chairman of the Auckland Harbour Board, Mr J. L. Campbell, chairman of the New Plymouth Harbour Board, and Mr J. S. Harris, secretary of the New Plymouth Waterside Workers' Union. Witnesses were cross-examined by Mr I. Thomas, who represented the Railway Department.

Low Truck Rate The low truck rate operating on the railways in North Auckland and the policy of the Railway Department inoffering preferential rates in areas; where the railways were in competition' with coastal snipping provided the basic cause of the shipping companies'' troubles today, said Sir Ernest ( Davis. Coastal trade as it was known in New Zealand in the'old days had been of slow and carefully-tended growth.' It was now blighted by the remorseless competition' of the railways to such an; extent that extinction appeared inevitable. * ' | Sir Ernest said he was truly ashamed of the low ebb to which Auckland registered shipping had fallen in the prewar period. In 1944 the shipping register at Auckland contained the names of only 55 trading compared with 226 in 1901. Total tonnage had decreased from 20.546 to 5627. Planning a System

"What is required is co-ordinated planning which will produce a satisfactory system. ensure an adequate return on capital invested, provide sufficient for improvements and give those employed in the shipping industry, whether afloat or ashore, fair remuneration for their services," continued Sir Ernest.

The witness recounted the history of abortire Conferences which had taken place on the subject since 1936. "It must be realised in the light ,of our repeated disappointments and long series of frustrated endeavours that we cannot go on fighting what is really a losing battle," he said. Retention of the coastal services depended wholly upon the amount of cargo carried at an economic rate. Their elimination would throw such a strain on the reduced revenues of harbour boards that recourse would have to be made to harbour rates, paid by the taxpayer, to meet losses. It was .suggested by Sir Ernest that one way of getting over the problem would be for the Government to appoint a council or committee to produce a well co-ordinated scheme, which would protect the vital individual interests and.at the same time promote the prosperity of both employer and employee. Such a body should represent the railway, shipping and road services, the shipbuilding industry and air transport. Company's Dividend Cross-examined by Mr Thomas, Sir Ernest said the Northern Company had been able to pay a dividend of 5 per cent only by virtue of its subsidiary companies. The real dividend of the company was 1.62 per cent, which was {laid on a greatly reduced capital. Shares had been reduced in value from 15s to lis and from 7s 6d to 3s 6d. The company could not go on along those lines.

For the Harbour Board, Mr Frater said that while not opposed to legitimate competition under conditions of economic equality his organisation strongly deprecated the introduction of uneconomic freight rates intended to divert existing trade from the sea to the railways. The hoard had incurred a public debt of £2,703,900 in the construction of wharves, sheds and other works. To allow Coastal shipping to fall into disuse would be a tragic blunder. Harbour Board Viewpoint Mr Frater said his board was of tho opinion that it would not he difficult to create a suitable tribunal with power to control and adjust freight rates as between the various forms of transport, so as to ensure fair treatment, both to the public and to the transport services.

"Over a long period the New Plymouth Harbour Board has been adversely affected by the unfair competition entered into by the Railway Department with the shipping commo' " s ? ici -^' r ,T - Campbell. In the department had substantially reduced the freight on sugar to New 1 lymouth and near-by towns with the sole object of taking the commodity away from the ships. Such extraordinary steps were pursued regardless .of the people as a whole. It was certain that when the competitors had been disposed of the railways would return to the usual tariff rates. Witness said his board considered the department should be compelled to adopt rates having a relationship to the service rendered and the distance of haulage, and should pay f0 ™ , port fncil 'ties it used. Ihe hearing will be continued today when the Railway Department will make its submissions.

EROSION AT HAMILTON (0.C.) HAMILTON, Wednesday A statement that considerable erosion had occurred along the banks of the Waikato River, at Hamilton, in recent years owing to the raising and lowering of the level of the river by the operations at Arapuni, was made bv Mr W. R, Shattock, at a meeting of the Hamilton Borough Council tonight. It was decided to draw the attention of the Works Department to the matter, with a request that remedial measures be carried out.

This article text was automatically generated and may include errors. View the full page to see article in its original form.
Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/NZH19450222.2.52

Bibliographic details

RIVAL TRANSPORT, New Zealand Herald, Volume 82, Issue 25134, 22 February 1945

Word Count
943

RIVAL TRANSPORT New Zealand Herald, Volume 82, Issue 25134, 22 February 1945

Working