Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Supplementary memorandum by Humber Barges (IW 07A)

  Herewith additional information relative to the evidence given by David Lowe (and others) to the Sub-Committee on Wednesday 1 November 2000.

Question 4

  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 toll—again needs further thought. (Where, for example, a craft is brought into service for perhaps just the odd trip).

Question 6

  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
    —  Pelletised ash
    —  Pulverised fuel ash
    —  Aggregates—sand, gravel, granite (internal/import)
    —  Iron ore (imported)
    —  Coal (internal and import/export)
    —  Paper (import)
    —  Copra (import)
    —  Fertiliser (import)
    —  Soya meal (import)
    —  Zircon sand (import)
    —  Steel pipes (export)
    —  Furnace bottom ash (import/internal)
    —  Black slag (export)
    —  Grain (import)
    —  Fibo Lica (import)
    —  Steel scrap (import and internal)
    —  Silica sand (glass making sand) coastwise/internal
    —  Palletised timber (import)
    —  Waste material (various)
    —  Rice (import)
    —  Bauxite (import)
    —  Steel products (eg rod/mesh) (export)
    —  Mica (import)
    —  Dicalcium phosphate (import)
    —  Potassium Carbonate (import)
    —  Cocoa (import)
    —  Talc (import)
    —  Aluminium ingots (import)
    —  Bagged magnesium (import)
    —  Magnesite (import)
    —  Fluorspar (import)
    —  Paper (import)
    —  Urea (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.

Question 10

  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 per tonne.

  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)
    —  Total    7.00

  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".

Question 39

  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 conflict.

  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.

Question 40

  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.

Question 65

  See list commodities above!

David Lowe
Humber Barges Ltd

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