London signs a contract with a ferry company… without boats

As part of its preparations for a no-deal Brexit, the UK government has contracted with three shipping companies including Britain’s Seaborne which has neither ships nor shipping experience.

Criticism is raining down on the British government. In fact, as part of its preparations for a no-deal Brexit, the state has signed a contract worth nearly 14 million pounds with a ferry company … with no experience and no boats!

The British Ministry of Transport has in fact signed contracts with three ferry companies in order to limit disruptions in ports in the event of leaving the European Union without an agreement.

The state fears that a no-deal Brexit will create havoc on the seas and that essential goods will remain stranded on the continent. To prevent these inconveniences, the government is therefore putting its hand in the wallet to create additional links with the continent. These additional links will allow the entry of 4,000 trucks which will represent approximately 10% of the current traffic at the port of Dover. They will be directed to several British ports (Poole, Plymouth in the south, Felixstowe in the east…). “The situation of extreme urgency” justifies the non-respect of the tendering procedure, detailed the government.

Still, this “emergency” resulted in an error. Thus, in the haste, the state signed a contract with the British company Seaborne for 13.8 million pounds (15.3 million euros) to create additional links with the continent. Under this contract, Seaborne is supposed to carry freight from Ramsgate in England to the Belgian port of Ostend. However, the port of Ramsgate, located in Kent, no longer provides this type of service since 2013. Better: Seaborne has never operated this type of service and has “neither ships nor commercial history”, according to the local advisor Paul Messenger (Conservative), interviewed by the BBC.

The opposition criticized the government.

“Why choose a company that has never transported a single truck in its history and give them £ 14million? I don’t see the logic, ”he said, considering it unlikely that the company would be able to set up this service in time for Brexit, scheduled for March 29, 2019.

In a statement Seaborne said it has been working since 2017 to launch a ferry service in early 2019. “The service was supposed to start in mid-February, but it has now been delayed to the end of March for operational reasons,” the company said.

“This contract was awarded knowing that Seaborne Freight is a new supplier of maritime transport services and that the capacity and additional vessels would be provided as part of its first services”, defended the Ministry of Transport in a press release. . But the opposition criticized the government.

“The fact that the government signed a contract with a ferry company without ferries basically sums up their ludicrous approach to the Brexit fiasco,” mocked Liberal Democrat, pro-EU MP Edward Davey on Twitter. Anti-Brexit Labor MP Neil Coyle denounced Transport Minister Chris Grayling’s “latest mess” after the drone affair that wreaked havoc at Gatwick Airport recently.

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