Brexit: Ramsgate ferry a non-starter

Ramsgate, Kent, UK: A controversial ferry contract awarded to a company with no ships as part of no-deal Brexit plans has been scrapped, the government has said.

Ministers had faced criticism for the £13.8m deal with Seaborne Freight, which does not operate any ferries.

Seaborne Freight was awarded the £13.8m contract in December to run a freight service between Ramsgate and Ostend in the event that Britain leaves the EU without a deal on 29 March.

But the government faced strong criticism for choosing Seaborne Freight, company with no ships or trading history, and for leaving too little time to establish the new ferry service before the Brexit deadline of 29 March.

In late December 2018, the government confirmed that the UK was to spend more than £100m on extra ferries to ease “severe congestion” at Dover, in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
Three ferry companies were awarded contracts:
£46.6m to the French company Brittany Ferries
£42.5m to Danish shipping firm DFDS
£13.8m to British firm Seaborne Freight

Seaborne Freight’s contract was for ferry services between Ramsgate and Ostend. Ramsgate has not had a regular ferry service since 2013 and needs to be dredged before services can start. Port infrastructure also limits the size of ferries able to operate.

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