§ Mr. Maclennan
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will publish a table showing the size in tonnes of the maritime fleet owned and registered in the United Kingdom in 1979 and that for the latest period for which figures are available; what information he has about the corresponding trend in other major European fleets over the same period: and what recent discussions have taken place with the European Commission and in the Council of Ministers regarding likely future developments, including the subject of aid to fleets.
§ Mr. Norris
The total deadweight tonnage of the trading fleet owned and registered in the United Kingdom fell from 39.3 million tonnes at mid-1979 to 5.6 million tonnes at the end of 1992.
The deadweight tonnage on the principal mainland European registries, irrespective of ownership, at mid-1979 and at the end of 1992 were as follows:
Deadweight (million tonnes) Mid-1979 End-1992 United Kingdom1 44.3 6.4 Denmark 8.9 6.8 France 20.6 5.6 Germany2 13.5 6.3 Greece 63.3 46.8 Italy 19.0 10.1 Netherlands 8.2 4.6 Spain 13.6 4.0
Mid-1979 End-1992 Cyprus 3.4 36.7 Malta 0.1 18.5 Norway 39.1 37.7 Poland 4.8 4.1 Romania 2.5 4.2 Sweden 7.4 3.4 Yugoslavia 3.6 n/a 1 Includes the Channel Islands and owned by non UK residents. 2 The end-1992 figure for Germany includes the fleet of the former German Democratic Republic.
On future developments, the December Transport Council endorsed our presidency paper on positive measures to improve the competitiveness of Community fleets, which have all reduced in size. Particular points stressed were that there should be flexibility on manning requirements and that the Commission should bring forward proposals for a number of non-financial measures, including the enforcement of maritime safety standards to avoid Community shipowners being at a competitive disadvantage with sub-standard shipping from third countries.
During our presidency, we argued strongly for the curbing of state aids in discussion with the Commission and in the Council of Ministers, and the Commission's recent White Paper, "The Future Development of the Common Transport Policy", confirmed that state aids should not be permitted to distort competition and compromise the establishment of a level playing field. We shall continue to press for the adoption of measures to even out the terms of competition within the Community.