Supplementary memorandum by Humber Barges
Herewith additional information relative to
the evidence given by David Lowe (and others) to the Sub-Committee
on Wednesday 1 November 2000.
Although this is gone into in greater detail
later on it should be emphasised that the suggestion is that barges
should be licensed INSTEAD of paying tolls, and that the waterways
authorities concerned should receive an incentive from Government
funds (of for example 1p/tonne/mile) as a Track Access Grant to
cover any additional or marginal costs of maintaining or operating
the waterways for freight craft. As we understand that the funds
available for Freight facility Grants are nowhere near taken up
this might not actually cost the Government anything extra!
This Grant should be ring fenced so it can only
be spent on freight use of the waterways, for example additional
maintenance such as piling or dredging, lock and bridge mechanisation/automation,
provision of lock keepers or other waterway staff, 24 hour operation,
improvements such as lock enlargement, new locks, widening or
straightening of the waterway, and so on.
It is worth mentioning that small craft such
as (freight carrying) narrow boats already are licensed in this
way, by British Waterways, for use on the smaller waterways but
in this case the navigation authority (BWB) does not receive any
specific additional income from elsewhere to act as an incentive.
It is worth re-iterating that on waterways which
are already free, such as the tidal Thames, there is, of course,
no suggestion that barges should be licensed.
Also that it is envisaged that this licensing
scheme would apply to inland waterway craft only ie those which
do not navigate outside an agreed area (possibly the partially
smooth water limit, but this needs further discussion) not to
seagoing ships which penetrate inland on to the esturial river
navigation's, or the Manchester Ship Canal for example.
Craft owners would only need to license craft
that were in use ie those "laid up" would be exempt.
Maybe each barge operator could chose either
to license craft or pay a tollagain needs further thought.
(Where, for example, a craft is brought into service for perhaps
just the odd trip).
Herewith a fuller list of commodities for which
we have carried, quoted for or discussed barge transport:
(internal unless otherwise noted)
Steel tubes (import)
Steel (partly finished/finished) import/export
Pulverised fuel ash
Aggregatessand, gravel, granite (internal/import)
Iron ore (imported)
Coal (internal and import/export)
Soya meal (import)
Zircon sand (import)
Steel pipes (export)
Furnace bottom ash (import/internal)
Black slag (export)
Fibo Lica (import)
Steel scrap (import and internal)
Silica sand (glass making sand) coastwise/internal
Palletised timber (import)
Waste material (various)
Steel products (eg rod/mesh) (export)
Dicalcium phosphate (import)
Potassium Carbonate (import)
Aluminium ingots (import)
Bagged magnesium (import)
Limestone (internal and import)
Rape Meal (import)
NB We do not operate tank craft (at present)
but bulk liquids are very easy to carry by inland waterways:
Petroleum, Diesel/Gas Oil, Vegetable
Oils, Effluent waste and so on.
To clarify and amplify: tolls are negotiable
but British Waterways are usually quoting in the region of 1p/tonne/mile
which is approximately twice the cost of the Railtrack access
for freight, as published in serious railway journals. It is understood
that tolls on the Manchester Ship Canal and the River Thames are
even higher. One would expect waterway tolls/access to be less
than rail as the infrastructure and operation is simpler.
Questions 13, 17 and 53
"What is your problem?"
Take a typical movement from Hull to Rotherham
as an example. The road haulage (through) cost is approx £6.00
Barging cost (through)
Barge rate: £2.00 (Hull
to Rotherham wharf)
Toll: 0.50 (British Waterways)
Tranship: 2.50 (wharf operator)
Road delivery: 2.00 (road haulier)
So the barge cost is £1.00 per tonne more
than road. With no toll charge, and maybe a Freight Facility Grant
for the unloading equipment/wharfage then this £1.00 difference
could be eliminated and the barge become slightly cheaper.
So the F.F.G is useful in reducing cost, but
the Track Access Grant is "the clincher".
This value of waterfront properties is a big
problem because this will almost always be greater for leisure/residential
use (though recent flooding may reduce this on the riverside).
This is why government control/influence is needed to safeguard
what if left and to encourage more development of waterside wharfage.
British Waterways have gone on record as stating that when they
close the wharf "another will be provided" but they
do not guarantee that the replacement wharf will be as convenient,
or as easy to use, or big enough or whatever ie equivalent or
better. An example is the river frontage at Trent Lane Nottingham,
which has always been an industrial site, indeed an early example
of an industrial estate. The latest thinking is to turn this area
over to residential/amenity use and transfer the wharf downstream
to a location, which is not as good for the operators being too
small and inconvenient to use.
On Continental waterways every town has its
wharf or wharves for barges to load/unload and residential properties,
houseboats, and wharves all exist in close proximity with no apparent
A colleague of mine has just developed a waterside
frontage on the Thames for very high quality expensive residential
use and says that the wharf next door has not affected property
values, and neither do the residents appear fazed by the activity
thereon but see it as a point of interest.
The provision of "Public Wharves"
should not be overlooked.
British Waterways are NOT at present "the
proper co-ordinating body...." And they only manage/control
a small proportion of the waterways regularly used for freight.
See list commodities above!
Humber Barges Ltd