Call our Sales Team on 0208 912 2120


10th April 1919, Page 14
10th April 1919
Page 14
Page 15
Page 14, 10th April 1919 — THE C.M.U.A. LUNCHEON.
Noticed an error?
If you've noticed an error in this article please click here to report it so we can fix it.

Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

Mr. joynson-Hicks, M.P., on the Future of Road Transport. Electricity on the Roads.

THE ANNUAL LUNCHEON of the Commercial Motor Users' Association (Incorporated) was held on Wednesday of last week sit the Savoy Hotel, London, Mr. E. S. Shrapnell-Smith, C.B.E., Chairman of the Association, presided. It had been hoped that several ministers would have been present, but to the regret of a large company, Sir Eric Geddes, Mr. 'Walter Long, and Sir Robert Horne were prevented by their duties from attending, whilst Sir Albert Stanley was ill. Mr. Walter Long, whose department was represented by Sir Frederick Black, sent the following wire from Paris: "I very much regret being unable. to be with you to-day owing to my being detained here. Please convey to your members my apprecias thin of the good work which they have done and are doing."

Among those present were Mr. W. Joynson-Hicks, M.P., Chairman of the Automobile Association ; Colonel R. B. Crompton, C.B., President of the -Commercial Motor Users Association ; MajorGeneral S. S. Long, C.B., Chairman, Motor Transport Employers Federation ; Sir Ryland Adkins, Chairman, County Council Association Mr. Albert Brown, President, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders; and Mr. G. A. Duffield, J.P., Chairman of the .Joint Industrial Council for the Road Transport Industry. The Chairman, in proposing the health of the Ministers and Departments of State, expressed regret at the absence of the various Ministers who were unable to be present. He said that the relations between that Association and the State Departments had drawn closer during the war and, in the years 'ahead, they must be still closer, having regard to the best interests of the road transport industry and the community at large. In England and Wales, there were two miles length of highway for every square mile of area as compared with Germany's one mile of highway to every ten square miles and European Russia's one mile for every 500 square miles. Those figures brought home to them the vital importance of the roads to the best interests of the country. The eapital value of the roads of the United Kingdom probably exceeded fifteen hundred million sterling, which was also the capital value-of the railways.

Keeping in Touch with the Departments.

It would be wrong for them to forget the services which Ministers of Departments of the State had rendered to them in the past, and he thanked Mr. Walter Long for his efforts to secure sufficient suisplies of petrol for this country during the war. His -experience as chairman of the Association discredited the idea that Government Departments would do nothing for them ; that was worse than inaccurate, it was, in such times as the present, positively harmful and wicked. But they could not be unmindful of the future, and the prospects were well calculated to disconcert if not to alarm them. For that reason, they hoped that opportunities would be given by the departments for them to state their case. Last week, a. deputation consisting of six London members and six provincial members of the Association were received by Sir Eric Geddes and his staff. They pointed out in connection with the new arrangements for the treatment of labour that something must be done at the terminals of railways, docks, and wharves, if the old practice of waiting five hours in an eight-hour shift was to be removed, as it must be removed if those of them who were to pay these wages were to pay them and yet continue in business life (cheers). Other points dealt with by the deputation were the motor .spirit taxes ; the proper keeping of books by local authorities, so that items such as those for


cleansing and watering the streets should not be improperly charged to road maintenance ; homeproduced fuel ; the important matter of weak bridges and certain proposals connected with amendments of the law of extraordinary traffic. These communications with the Minister were proceeding, and for that reason-he could not go into details, but he waS glad to say that Sir Eric Geddes, on behalf of the Government, promised to accept certain of their amendments and not to oppose others. At least, added the chairman, in the negotiations which were likely to last for a considerable time, they made a, start which he trust-ed would bring about good results.

The Question of Future Oil Supplies.

Sir Frederick Black, who sesponded, said although there had been anxious moments during the war, the oil supply, like the cruse of oil in the Scriptures, never failed ; that was due to the co-operation between the Government departments in the United Kingdom, in America, in France and in Italy, and the great oil companies in this country, in America and in different parts of the world. Mr. Walter Long had furnished him with the following figures showing the growth of imports as between 1913 and 1918, exclusively of those that went direct to other Allied countries in Europe. The figures were :— Proceeding, Sir Frederick Black said that there was no produCt comparable with petroleum products upon which they were so much dependent on overseas supplies, and he alluded to the sacrifices and the heroism not only of the Navy but of the crews of the tank steamers that permitted them to keep up the supplies. There was, perhaps, no feature of the war on the mechanical side more remarkable than the use of and the immense-development of 'motor engines of every kind. Had the war continued a few months longer, the demand for motor spirit for aviation alone would have exceeded the total pre-war consumption for *11 civilian purposes. _Many of them had. had cause to complain of the quality of the supplies doled out (laughter). But they would have borne with it cheerfully if they realized the demand on the capacity of the refineries to turn out the high-grade spirit for aviation. There were various estimates as to how long. the world's ,supply of petrol would last, the pessimist placing it at 30 years and the optimist at 120 years. A friend of his said that they would never run out of supplies, and the oil producer had always said that production had always kept pace with demand. One could do few better services than to find out ways of avoiding waste and the most economical means .of using petrol. In one way or another, either by checking waste, the adoption of more economical machines or by the use of substitutes the demand would have to be met for the increased number of vehicles which would in future be used. There would undoubtedly have to he the closest connection beteen producer and consumer if the world's supplies of petrol with all the substitutes that could be found were to be sufficient to go round for any number of years. He mentioned that Mr.' Long had intended to refer to the excellent service the chairman had been doing on the Gas Traction Committee and what he had been doing as an expert in alcohol (laughter)— from an industrial point of view. • Mr.. W. Joynson-Hicks, M.P. chairman of the Automobile Association, proposed the toast of the Commercial Motor Users Association and, coupling with it the name of Colonel Crompton the president, eulogized the long and energetic career of usefulness of that gentleman to road users generally:Colonel Crompton, even in the days of red flags, had worked so that the roads should be made equal to the demands made upon them, and he had lived long enough to see the result of his labours (cheers). The latest -official figures showed that the number of commercial vehicles in this country included 65,000 petrol vehicles and 10,000 steam wagons. Of that number over 35,000 were owned by members of that Association. The Association had 3,000 members, and it represented a very large proportion of the commercial road traffic of the country. Its income of 23,390 was entirely devoted to the Interests of the road user from a commercial standpoint.

Without speaking of political questions, he said there were difficulties in the amendments necessary to make the great Transport Bill as good for the roads as it was for other methods of transport. He would merely say that several of them in the House were imbued -With the old spirit of the road and, great as was the power of the railway and the influence of the dock community, he was one of those who believed more and more in the future of the road as the controlling factor in the commerce, trade, and industry or the country. In the extended use of road vehicles and in the improvement of the roads would be found a solution of many of the great reconstruction difficulties which faced the Government. The whole question of housing, of small holdings, and of agriculture was bound up with transport.

It was absolutely essential that road transport should be taken hold of and brought to an enormously higher state of development not merely in years but almost in months, because reconstruction was pressing with such vital insistence on the whole of the country. It was only they who represented the use of commercial motors who could do for the Government of the country all that is needed in the great services of housing, small holdings and agriculture. They alone could take the product of the farm from the field to the market, without transhipment; they alone could take the Workman from his factory to his home direct ; they alone could bring the deserted village into touch and communion with the life of the adjoining towns—and this was one of the greatest problems of country life.

Ways and Communications Bill and Fairness to Transport. _

It was upon these lines and not upon selfish lines that he was Seeking to insert certain amendments in the great scheme for the creation of a Transport Ministry before the House at the present time. He had always found the House of Commons a fair body, and he believed that when the Huse realized all that the country owed to the development of commercial motors, which made the war possible and which made victory certain, the House would be fair, he thought, and it would not pass any amendment which would be unfair to any of the great systems oftransport which it was the object of the Government to co-ordinate and control in one great whole. He was convinced that the great object of the Association was not mere personal or selfish benefit—though there were rightly benefits—and he appealed to them on national grounds to do their best to make roadtraffic so great and so improved that while they benefited themselves they were doing far more for the country at large (cheers). Colonel R. B. Crompton, in responding, said that they who were present at the birth of that Institution had every reason to be proud of its present power. Nothing was so important to modern civilization as transport at the lowest cost, at the highest speed, and with the maximum of convenience. The Ways and Communications Bill had, in a sense, made poa

sible certain dreams, and one of them was the extension of the electrical supply of this country so that they would be able to supplement the self-propelled motor by the electrical vehicle propelled by power drawn, from trolley poles and wire at the roadside. That was going to be the means of cheapening road haulage in a manner which he did not think possible until the last few weeks when the details of the Bill came before them. They would be surprised when they began to put the figures together to find how much they paid for carrying about their propelling power— their own engine, fuel and water—and what a lot of extra paying load they could carry when they had only to carry an electrical motor, and very little gearing, and obtain power from the wire at the roadside. That was one of the great developments before them and one of the great developments to be obtained from the Bill:

Petrol Supplies and Lack of Storage.

Sir Marcus Samuel, who responded to an invitation to speak, said he had always been an optimist with regard to the length of petrol supplies. 'fo the best of his belief there was not the slightest danger of the failure of the petrol supply, -no matter how large a demand was made. At the present moment the storage of the country was so full that it was almost impossible to land a cargo. In the opinion of those best able to judge, if the entire supplies of the United States ceased to-morrow, there was enough petrol in the rest of the world to meet requirements. The present high price was net the fault of the producer or those who dealt in petrol, but such blame as there might be rested upon the Government Departments who considered it to be their duty to show profits. In this matter he was certain that there would be immediate relief to the consumer. He thought they would all agree as to the necessity for the removal of the Excess Profits Tax. They must remember there are other countries competing for supply, and, if supplies were to come to this country, the users of petrol must co-operate with the importers to get every possible restriction removed and permit distribution as cheaply as possible. If there were excessive charges it was always the consumer who paid. The pooling of the resources of the great companies had undoubtedly cheapened the distribution of petrol, but they would welcome the assurance that there would be no collusion between importers ; the consumers would undoubtedly benefit from the competition which would, on the other hand, take place. The very moment restrictions were removed the horrible stuff which they had been getting in the name of petrol would be replaced by what they were accustomed to before the war (cheers). Major-General S. S. Long, who Proposed the toast of kindred associations, spoke of the lessons of cooperation which they had learnt from the war. Mr. H. C. B. TJnderdown, president of the Association of British Motor and Allied Manufacturers, Ltd., responded to the toast and endorsed what had been said by General Long as to the value of co-operation. As a Controller he attributed the efficiency of his office to the method of carrying out control by working in close co-operation with the association representative of the interests with which he had to deal. He hoped that co-operation between Government and associations would continue in the days which were to follow the war.

Responding to the toast of his health, proposed by Mr. G. A. Dutfield, the chairman said he felt that anything which tended towards better and single organization and unity of purpose must he right. As employers they had a great deal to learn from the manner in which labour could organize. By their association they should not only be able to learn how to eliminate waste and disadvantageous use of their vehicles, but also be able to co-operate with labour to do more than they could possibly do by themselves, (cheers).

The annual general meeting of the Association followed the luncheon.

comments powered by Disqus