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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 76

General Remarks

General Remarks.

After carefully considering all the evidence collected in my extended tour of Europe, America, Canada, and British Columbia, I am convinced that no permanent market for our hemp can be relied upon until compulsory grading is adopted throughout the colony. The disadvantage arising from the want of such a system cannot be overstated. All manufacturers to whom I spoke were unanimous upon this point, and strongly emphasized their objection to the existing modus operandi by stating that they would not renew their orders for New Zealand hemp until they were assured of the continued supply of a standard article of uniform quality. For my own part, I never could appreciate the objection to compulsory trading. By its adoption millers, merchants, brokers, and consumers would be benefited. It would at once check negligent preparation, give protection to the careful miller, and, above all, secure the confidence and approval of the purchasers—a desideratum of immense advantage in building up a safe and profitable export trade. Such a system should not only provide for the classification of quality into A, B, C, or D grades, but should, in my opinion, include instructions as to the best method of baling.

Objections were frequently made about the ever-varying size of bales and hanks, especially as to the twist in the latter. The heavy pressing page 20 and subsequent hydraulic dumping gives the fibre a permanent set involving extra expense in opening out the hanks before hackling is commenced by cordage-manufacturers. The uniform weight of each bale would, as in the case of manila, save considerable cost in receiving delivery, storage, and weighing. Manila hemp is universally accepted as eight bales to the ton, each bale weighing 2½ cwt., packed in what is known as piculs, two of which comprise a bale. The Ludlow Manufacturing Company, of Boston, not only recommends a grading system, but points out the advantage of a special size of package, such as is adopted by shippers of jute, which is packed in bales 4 ft. long by 20 in. by 18 in. The measurement of a ton of New Zealand hemp varies considerably sometimes averaging on a shipment about 110 ft. undumped, while that of manila runs about 100 ft. The freight to the United States is equal to about £1 10s. to £1 15s. per ton. We are to-day paying the following rates on New Zealand hemp shipped to London: Steamer—£3 10s. per ton, 10 per cent, primage; sailer—£3 per ton, 5 per cent, primage. An extra £1 per ton is charged on through freights to Boston and New York.