No-deal Brexit ferry contracts to be scrapped
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling is cancelling a set of contracts to provide ferry services after a no-deal Brexit, at a cost estimated at around £50 million.
Mr Grayling awarded contracts worth a total of more than £100 million to three firms – Brittany Ferries, DFDS and Seaborne Freight – to run extra services from ports including Plymouth, Poole and Portsmouth to ease pressure on the main Dover-Calais route.
After the expected March 29 date of EU withdrawal was delayed, first to April 12 and now October 31, the new services were not required.
The National Audit Office estimated in February that the maximum cost of compensation to ferry operators if contracts were terminated would be £56.6 million, but a Whitehall source said the actual figure was expected to be around 10% lower.
Seaborne’s contract to provide sailings from Ramsgate was scrapped in February after an Irish company backing the deal pulled out.
The announcement that the remaining contracts are now to be torn up is likely to fuel speculation that the Government no longer believes a no-deal Brexit might happen.