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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 1, Issue 6 (October 24, 1926)

Two Conferences held

Two Conferences held.

“With a view to doing its share towards reducing the cost to farmers, the question of existing railway rates for the carriage of fertilisers has been examined, and a decision arrived at that these rates shall be materially reduced. Before bringing about this reduction, however, it was deemed desirable to confer with the various interests concerned in the manufacture, handling, and sale of fertilisers with a view to obtaining a practical form of co-operation by further reductions on their part also. Two conferences have, therefore, been held, at which representatives of manufacturers, distributors, freezing companies, and harbour boards were present, together with Ministers and Departmental officers. At these conferences the matter was discussed in its various aspects, and following them there has been considerable correspondence with the interests concerned, including shipping companies engaged in coastal trade.

“Some result has been attained and each section of the trade has been able to express its views, hence the position is clearer now than heretofore, and it is hoped that in due course further improvements which will be of benefit to producers will come about.

“As regards the railway concession, it is anticipated that the cheaper rate at which the farmer will be able to secure fertilisers will result in a much increased use of them, and a markedly greater output of primary produce for carriage on the railways, thus going a long way towards offsetting the reduced rates.

“The manufacture and sale of superphosphate is now one of the most important factors in the fertiliser trade, and the manufacturers have agreed to supplement their reductions in prices made just recently by a further reduction of ⅙ per ton.

“This present reduction of ⅙ per ton would no doubt have been greater but for the fact that the price of raw materials for superphosphate manufacture was recently increased by 4/- per ton. This increase in price of raw page 7 materials was unavoidable, as regards rock phosphate, consequent upon prolonged bad weather conditions at Nauru and Ocean Islands having prevented normal shipments and created a shortage which had to be supplied at higher cost from outside sources by the Phosphate Commission, which spread the increase over all supplies, thus establishing an assured stability. There has also been an increase in the price of sulphur.

“The freezing companies have agreed to reduce their prices pro rata to those of the manufacturers. The Wellington Harbour Board has made a reduction of 1/- per ton in its wharfage rates for material landed direct into railway trucks, and the Auckland Harbour Board has made a small reduction in its wharfage rates on sulphur, which is an essential in the manufacture of superphosphate. The Dunedin Harbour Board, it may be mentioned, made a considerable reduction last year.

“As regards the coastal shipping companies, they already have a reduced rate for fertilisers, and intimate they are unable to do more.