The British government intends to spend over GBP 100 million (USD 130 million) chartering extra sea ferries in order to ease cross-Channel congestion if the UK fails to secure a trade deal prior to leaving the European Union (EU) in 2019.
Just 3 months before the UK is expected to leave the EU, the risk of no-deal Brexit is rising, and it is the nightmare for many businesses, that are now planning for economic shock.
Extra vessels will be needed to service new routes across the Channel if the main French terminal of Calais and Britain's Folkestone and Dover are clogged up by customs checks.
Britain's membership of the EU currently means that trucks are driving smoothly through border check within the EU. In a no-deal Brexit, a few minutes' delay at customs would mean vehicles backing up at ports as well as queuing on feeder roads on the Channel's both sides.
In order to ease a potential backlog, the UK government has awarded 3 contracts to provide additional freight capacity on routes from the English seaports Poole, Plymouth and Portsmouth. The contracts are with the French company Brittany Ferries (GBP 47 million), with the Danish company DFDS Seaways (GBP 47 million) and with the British company Seaborne Freight Ltd (GBP 14 million).