Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Minutes of Evidence



Examination of Witnesses (Questions 180-189)

MR GRAHAM SMITH AND MR ALLEN MARSDEN

WEDNESDAY 24 APRIL 2002

Chairman

  180. But they have indicated to you that they might not give it to you.
  (Mr Smith) That is the view of Railtrack and the administrators. It is for the Regulator to decide, which we believe he will do within the month.

  181. Supposing rail handed over the control of containers to road haulage, would that be logical?
  (Mr Smith) Control in what respect?

  182. In the sense that the container traffic would go on the roads and rail would be left with other bulk commodities but not necessarily containers.
  (Mr Smith) I would not want to be driving on the A14 if we did that, given that 30 per cent of Felixstowe's output is conveyed by the other rail freight haulier, Freightliner.

  183. You do say you do not like the idea of having to pay for running your trains on docks. If that is not the case, then who is going to bear the cost of that?
  (Mr Smith) We believe that the operation of trains on docks should be treated equally with road.

  184. You said that. But if you do not pay it, who is going to?
  (Mr Smith) Whoever is paying for the road haulage.

  185. You do not see any basic difference between yourselves? To be honest that is an argument which could apply to all road haulage using all major roads, that the railways have to pay for their paths and the roads and the road haulage industry does not.
  (Mr Smith) That is a very interesting concept.

  186. I know it is a very interesting concept and I require from you an answer.
  (Mr Smith) About the general question?

  187. About that particular question. If you do not like paying for the use of dock land, which is in effect what you are being charged for, you are being charged for access on their rails, you think that someone ought to pay it other than you. Who should paid it?
  (Mr Smith) There are two possibilities. Either the provider of the dock facilities, the owner of the dock, who can use the availability of rail facilities as a selling point when competing with other docks or ports—

  188. As a loss leader, or would they put it on your charges?
  (Mr Smith) Or would they put it on the charges of the shipper or the customer?

  189. What you are really saying is "Not me Guv. Anybody else who happens to be passing by at the time".
  (Mr Smith) We are asking for equal treatment with road haulage.

  Chairman: An interesting concept, as you say. Thank you very much, gentlemen, you have been very tolerant. We do wish you well.

 


 


 
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