Government to boost ferry services post Brexit

London, UK: The British government will spend more than £100m chartering extra ferries to ease “severe congestion” in the case of a no-deal Brexit.

In order to avoid congestion at Dover, additional ferry contracts have been awarded to French, Danish and British companies to allow for almost 4,000 more lorries a week to come and go from ports, including Plymouth, Poole, and Portsmouth.

Diverting vehicles to these ports will significantly increase road mileage and journey times.

The Department for Transport (DfT) said the awards were “a small but important element” of its no-deal planning. Department documents outlining the agreements state that an “unforeseeable” situation of “extreme urgency” meant there was no time for the contracts to be put out to tender – the standard practice for public procurements.

The department also states that increased border checks by EU countries in the case of a no-deal Brexit could “cause delivery of critical goods to be delayed”, and “significant wider disruption to the UK economy and to the road network in Kent”.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the DfT said the contracts would provide “significant extra capacity” to UK ports in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Three suppliers were awarded a total of £107.7m:

  • £46.6m to the French company Brittany Ferries
  • £47.3m to Danish shipping firm DFDS
  • £13.8m to British firm Seaborne Freight
  • All three businesses will expand their ro-ro services adding about10% capacity to take the strain from the Dover crossing.

Brittany Ferries told the BBC it was contracted to add 19 weekly return sailings to three of its routes: Roscoff to Plymouth, Cherbourg to Poole and Le Havre to Portsmouth – a 50% increase on its current schedule.

The other firms are said be adding services at Immingham and Felixstowe.

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