The UK government has been attacked over the no deal Brexit preparation following the multi-million-pound contract to a ferry company which has never run ferry service.
Seaborne Freight was awarded a GBP13.8M contract to run freight service from Ramsgate, England to Ostend, Belgium and the reverse but it does not own any ferries yet.
Image: Port of Ostend (Belgium)
The company was founded less than 2 years ago to revive Ramsgate-Ostend route and intends to be in action before March 29, when Britain is expected to officially leave the European Union. The cross-channel service out of Ramsgate hasn't been active since 2013 (TransEuropa collapsed then).
According to the Department for Transport, it had awarded the contract in “the full knowledge that Seaborne is a new shipping provider” and it “carefully vetted the company’s commercial, technical and financial position in detail before making the award”.
The Department for Transport also signed contracts with Danish company DFDS and French firm Brittany Ferries to ease pressure on Port Dover as part of a GBP 100 million deal.
In a statement, Seaborne Freight explained they had been “financed by the shareholders” during company's initial development phase involving “locating suitable vessels, making arrangements with the ports of Ostend and Ramsgate, building the infrastructure - such as bunkering - as well as crewing the ferries once they start operating”.