Seaborne freight no-deal ferry has been scrapped. In the early hours of Friday, the news broke and came as a shock, it was reported in a variety of news sources including the BBC and Evening Standard. Originally, seaborne freight had plans to launch their services beginning from Rams gate on 29 March: Brexit day. In short, the government has put a stop to its no-deal Brexit contract with Seaborne ferry company. This is because the company was left with no ships after the Irish company who stood as the backbone of the deal pulled out. Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary has been faced with serious criticism regarding the issue.
However, in a bid to find a solution to this mishap, the government has declared that it is in advanced talks with another ferry firm. One of the locals, MP Craig Mackinlay said in a recent interview that for commercial shipping from Ramsgate, this could be the last throw of the dice. With the populace largely displeased with Mr Grayling, they have called on him to resign or be sacked. Various people have voiced out and many have described him as “the worst secretary of state ever”.
The alleged fake ferry service company, Seaborne Freight got the £13.8m contract in December to run a freight service beginning from Ramsgate up to Ostend, Belgium. This was in a bid to keep things running in the event that Britain leaves the EU without a deal. However, not just the secretary has been faced with criticism, even the government has had its own fair share of the blame as relayed in BMM magazine
Local politicians situated in both Ramsgate and Ostend have given stern warnings about the inability of the ports to be made available on the deadline. At the time the government awarded the contract to Seaborne, it was fully aware that Seaborne was a nothing but “A new shipping provider”. On Saturday, the Daily Telegraph reported that Arklow Shipping, a major Irish shipping firm, withdrew its support from Seaborne “without warning”. The withdrawal of the deal came as a result of observations made by the Department of Transport. They had become aware that Seaborne wouldn’t be able to reach its contractual requirements just after Arklow Shipping had withdrawn its support.
Following the announcements of this scrapped deal, a spokesman said: “The government is looking to secure additional freight capacity, having engaged in talks with other companies. Some of the routes which include through the Port of Ramsgate, all in a bid to prepare for a no-deal Brexit.”
The Port of Ramsgate has not featured a regular ferry service in a number of years. Thanet District Council expressed their disappointment in the withdrawal of Arklow shipping from the deal when they said. Thanet District Council said it was in talks with the Department of Transport about the port’s role “in terms of supporting Brexit resilience”. The council has made the financial backings available as they have pumped a lot of resources into making the ferry service work again. The council was, however, planning to cut budgets before Mr Grayling decided to delay this decision. To get Ramsgate working again, it needs to be dredged as it had not featured a regular ferry service since 2013.
Following the announcement that the government has scrapped the deal with Seaborne, Mr Mackinlay, the Conservative MP for South Thanet, said a number of ferry companies have also had this opportunity over the years but none has led to anything significant. He said further speaking on the same issue that, “the deal to get Seaborne working again was potentially the last throw of the dice to give commercial shipping a chance in Ramsgate.” Andrew Gwynne, the shadow secretary of state for communities and local government, made a significant statement in recent talks with BBC Radio, he said “The inability of the government to strike a significant deal is an indication that the government has no plans for Britain in the case of a no-deal Brexit.
He said, “this is another scenario of a major problem and poor leadership in the hands of Chris Grayling who must be categorized as the worst secretary of state ever because of his huge failure to make any reasonable contribution to the growth of the society.” qouted the Evening standard.
We will try to keep you updated on any further details regarding the ferry crossing. As things stand this is only a minor issue on problems regarding Brexit and its implications.