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Tuesday, 11 April 1972
Page: 941

Senator WRIEDT asked the Minister rep resenting the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice:

(1)   Is the Government satisfied with the present system of conference shipping into and out of Australia; if not; what are the reasons for dissatisfaction.

(2)   Are non-conference charter shipping operators currently negotiating to carry a major portion of wool and other products to Europe, and backload manufactured products to Australia.

(3)   What prospect does the Government see for the present container system and the Australian National Line's participation in it, in the event of charter operators obtaining a major share of cargoes when the current contract on wool expires later this year.

(4)   Will the Government ensure that no impediment will be placed on charter operations in order to protect the current system, if lower freight rates can be obtained from charter operators.

(5)   What tonnage of general cargo has been carried in each of the past 5 years to and from the United Kingdom/Europe and Australia by (a) conference lines, and (b) non-conference lines.

Senator COTTON - The Acting Minister for Shipping and Transport has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1)   Yes.

(2)   I understand some shippers of commodities such as wool have been exploring the charter market.

(3)   It is not possible to answer this question until the share of cargo diverted to charter shipping, if any, is known and possible alternative cargoes are explored.

(4)   The Government's concern is the provision of adequate economic and efficient shipping services for all Australian exports. The question of using conference or charter shipping is a matter for the commercial judgment of the shipper involved.

(5)   The Commonwealth Statistician has furnished the following information in respect of this Part. Published shipping cargo statistics are not classified by type of cargo, so that it is not possible to specify general cargo as such. However, in the broadest sense, general cargo can be regarded as that carried in liners. Statistics for this cargo are given in the table below, which also includes statistics for cargo transported in tramps, bulkships and tankers.

Shipping cargo statistics are not available classified by Conference and non-Conference lines. Conferences only function in relation to liner services, and although these services are usually organised under Conference arrangements, it does not always follow that all liner operators are members of Conferences. Liner statistics therefore do not necessarily relate specifically to Conferences.

Cargo is recorded either in terms of units of weight or of measurement (a ton measurement is a unit of 40 cubic feet) depending on the basis on which freight is charged. The statistics for cargo recorded in tons weight are shown separately from cargo recorded in tons measurement.


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