Sales Potential of Empire Markets
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Valuable Survey of Overseas Markets From Information Supplied by the Department of Overseas
CANADA MUST HAVE GOOD SERVICE
AS was stated in last year's corresponding Special Number, the Canadian market presents well-known difficulties to U.K. manufacturers of commercial vehicles, and it is unneces-4 sary to elaborate them here.
Canadian production of commercial vehicles in 1938 amounted to 42,374 units (23,240 for sale in Canada and 19,084 for export) made up as follows:
Whilst the values shown for 1939 emphasize that the market is not a relatively important one for us, it is not impossible that a market may be found for light commercial vans of British make, on account of their low operating costs. An average of our trade with Canada in commercial vehicles during the past 10 years shows about $130,000 worth of business per annum.
The provision of " service" by U.K. makers presents some difficulty, but thought might well be given to a " pooled representation" scheme with service facilities, confining operations, in the first place, to the Provinces of Ontario and Quebec in the East and to British Columbia on the Pacific Coast.
Although costs are rising and warrisk insurances, etc„ are a handicap, these are, to some extent, offset by sterling depreciation in Canada. As regards competition from the U.S.A. the Canadian dollar is at a discount in the States, and the Canadian British Preferential Tariff gives us an added advantage to the extent of at least 17iper cent, ad valorem.
AUSTRALIA A FRUITFUL MARKET
THE Australian trade returns do not specify commercial motor vehicles, but record imports of "chassis-unassembled-truck, omnibus or other commercial vehicle " during the year ended June 20 as being worth £2,036,608 for 18,353 units, of which the U.K. provided imports valued at £718,357 (4,309 units), the U.S.A. £766,920 (7,504 units) and Canada £520,206 (6,471 units). The importing States shared the trade as follows: New South Wales ... £798,779
Victoria 695,373 Queensland 275,334 South Australia ... 116,361 Western Australia ... 140,954 Tasmania 9,807
Values are in sterling, and it must be remembered that corresponding values in Australia are some 25 per cent. higher.
In the Commonwealth at the same time there was " assembly of chassis, including engines " for trucks to the extent of 16,920 petrol units and 349 oil.
Arrangements by the Home Government for purchasing Australian primary products (wool, butter, meat, etc.) have contributed to improve the buying power, and Australia may be regarded as a promising market for U.K. commercial vehicles.
NEW ZEALAND PROSPECTS BETTER
LATEST statistical returns for New Zealand cover the year 1937 and show imports of " Lorries, Trucks, Vans, Buses and Chassis, therefor, completely knocked down," as follow: These values, unlike those for Australia, which are in sterling, are given in New Zealand currency, the sterling values being about 80 per cent. thereof. In addition, the values include 10 per cent, to cover freight, insurance, etc.
It will be seen that the principal imports are in "completely knocked down " vehicles, the import of assembled vehicles being small. In 1937 there were six Dominion assembly works, with 1,069 operatives receiving £251,602 in wages. The output, exclusive of imported parts, was £991,092, and cars and trucks assembled numbered 16,771.
When the past year's import returns are published they may show a considerable fall in imports of commercial vehicles coming as a result of import control and exchange restrictions at present in force.
These measures were introduced in December, 1938. to conserve finances and rebuild sterling balances in London to enable New Zealand to meet the service of overseas loans, mostly held in England, and to finance imports. It appears that the strong demand created for New Zealand products by the war will tend to ameliorate the exchange position.
The restrictions are as follow :
SOUTH AFRICA EXPANSION LIKELY
1VISouth Africa to co-ordination of the ikAUCH attention has been paid in transport industry. The success achieved is due, in no small measure, to the co-operation of the Railways Administration with the Central and Local Roa.3 Transportation Boards which control road-transport activities under the provisions of the Union's Motor Carrier Transportation Act.
The motor fleet maintained by the Union Railways and Harbours Administration reaches a total of nearly 1,000, which figure may be exceeded this year. The past two years show figures as follow : The growth in so short a time as 15 years can be gauged from the fact that in 1925-26 the Administration had only 23 vehicles of less than 5 tons. By 1927-28 it had 246 vehicles. The carrying capacities in 1927-28 and at the present time are : Bodies are constructed in the South African Railways own shops. The numbers made in 1938-39 were 94 dualpurpose, 22 goods and 52 trailer bodies, All-steel bodies have been adopted as standard.
Under the customs tariff in the Union of South Africg, these duties are imposed on commercial• vehicles enter
ing the Union :ad • g Motor buses, assembled or not., all-metal.; bodies
Other ebramerclal vehicles ... 20 Chassis fra bodies to be built in the Union unassembled, for vans not exceeding 1 ton ... 10 Other vehicles ... 3 The same if assembled ... .. ... 5
In South Africa the motor services act as feeders to the main railway lines or test a route in advance of a branch railway line proposed. If the branch railway, not always put forward on purely economic grounds, is constructed and found to be uneconomic, it may remain a permanent liability, whilst the motor service on the same road in similar circumstances can be discontinued or reopened
Full import statistics to September 30, 1988, were given in the previous survey by The Commercial Motor (January 13, 1939), figures for 1939 are not available. It is therefore necessary to add only the figures for the complete year, 1938, which follow :
Buses with all-metal bodies appear for the first time in the Annual Customs Return of 1938, 71 were imported, of which 68 were from the U.K. at £144,791, and only three from tho U.S.A. at £1,829.
Commercial motors appear under three headings, trucks, vans and buses complete, chassis for the same categories and parts and accessories, for which the 1937-38 import figures were :- In each case it will be seen that the U.S.A. obtained the largest share, the U.K. following. The 1938 totals for trucks are considerably smaller than those of 1937, which was an exceptional year. The Union market for commercial motors is one that is capable of considerable expansion.
INDIA REQUIRES BUSES AND LORRIES
exports (including re-exports) decreased The total value of imports, exports and DURING the year ended March 31, by 12 and 11 per cent, respectively. re-exports was £241,500,000.
Buses, vans and lorries imported 1959, the value of imports and were as follow:
15,077 206.8 7,808 118.4 The aggregate trade suf
fered a marked decline felt by all countries of supply except Canada, the trade of which was maintained at Rs.27 lakhs.
The next six months showed striking improve
ment, the imports amounted to 6,800 vehicles (Rs.95.6 lakhs) compared 479,02 with 2,764 vehicles (Rs.44
lakhs) during April to September, 1938. These reflect expansion of bus services and road haulage of goods resulting from rapid extension of roads and more efficient traffic regulation. The chief competitors have been the U.S.A. and Germany. Whilst competition by the latter is eliminated by war, that of the U.S.A. is likely to be considerably hampered by dollar exchange and shipping difficulties.
Duties upon importation into British India are as follow:
Vans and lorries imported complete: 25 per cent, ad valorem (all sources). Buses-commercial chassis, spare parts: U.K., 17,1, per cent. ad valorem: other countries, 2.5 per cent. ad valorem. The only restriction on exchange is that the authority of the Reserve Bank of India is necessary for all transfers.
RHODESIA BRIDGING ITS DIFFICULTIES
AT Salisbury H.M. Trade Commissioner (Mr. A. W. Hall) in a report points out that the most interesting development in road transport in Rhodesia recently has been the bridging of the Zambesi river, which divides the two Colonies. This is at Chirundu, which lies in a direct line between Salisbury and Lusaka, capitals of Southern and Northern Rhodesia. Mr. Hall adds that the existing ferry at Chirundu and the rough roads connecting with it have prevented any extensive use of this route, which is the shortest surface route between the two towns. The railway journey is 877 miles, whilst the road, via Chirundu ferry, is only 340 miles. The effect of reducing the distance by 500 miles can readily he imagined. The new road will bring the copper belt of Northern Rhodesia closer to Salisbury and encourage the use of road transport for goods suited to it. Other road improvements are in pro gress. It may be expected that the transport services will carry northwards by road a large proportion of high-rated goods over the new bridge, although it is not obvious whether return freights to Salisbury will be obtainable.
At the end of last year Salisbury. Rhodesia, inaugurated its first bus service, with a fleet of eight English vehicles.
BRITISH EAST AFRICA LOSES
AHEAVY decrease took place in the number of lorries imported into the British East African territories in 1938. In 1938 Uganda accounted for 513 vehicles, as against 856 in 1937. The drop is mainly due to a fall in quantity and value of the cotton crop. The imports of lorries into the four. East African territories in 1937 and 1938 are as follow: British East Africa has now only two bus and passenger transport companies,. the Kenya Bus Service, Ltd,, and the Nairobi and Uganda Transport Co., Ltd., of Kampala. There is, however, a large number of lorry owners, mainly Asiatic, who provide facilities for conveying goods and passengers. These own anything from one to 20 vehicles with bodies of local construction. They rarely operate to any regular schedule. Motor services for the convenience of passengers and goods are maintained by the Kenya an Uganda railways. Uganda alone has more than 7,000 miles of roads, most of which, though narrow, have good surfaces, so that it will be seen that the opportunities for the development of commercial transport in the East African Colonies are very promising.
The Government of Tanganyika Territory maintains a fleet which, at the end of 1938, amounted to 140 lorries, 15 vans and 18 motorcycles, as well as six Crossley six-wheeled lorries. Of this fleet, 39 lorries, eight vans and eight motorcycles were maintained and operated in the capital, Dar Es Salaam, on general transport work. The material conveyed amounted to £82,115 over a total distance of 187,507 miles. The remainder of the fleet was employed on public works and transport for various Departments throughout the territory.
[It is regretted that, owing to limita tions on space, details regarding certain Empire countries have had to be held over until our next issue. They concern Somaliland Protectorate, Malaya, British Honduras, British West Indies and Jamaica.