Freight News, Sea

Government cancels Brexit-busting ferry contracts

[ May 1, 2019   //   ]

The Government is to cancel the contracts for additional ferry services after Brexit with Brittany Ferries and DFDS, the Department for Transport said on 1 May. The government paid for £89m worth of additional capacity from the two operators to ease expected pressure on the port of Dover. However, it cancelled a £13.8m contract with Seaborne Freight, backed by Arklow Shipping, for a proposed Ramsgate-Ostend service amid considerable controversy.

The Government’s Brexit-busting ferry plan ran into further trouble in late April after P&O Ferries revealed that it is suing the government over its £33m payout to Eurotunnel agreed last year. It follows the Government’s hurried settlement with the tunnel operator which was angry that it had not been included in a deal to provide additional Channel ferry services to help deal with congestion in the wake of Brexit.

Now however P&O is contesting the £33 million payment to Eurotunnel, saying that it would put it at a competitive disadvantage.

The DfT has deals worth £89m with Brittany Ferries and DFDS only after a third operator, Seaborne, dropped out after it revealed that it had no ships or any experience of running a ferry service.