NEWS
06/01/2019 19:03 GMT

Seaborne Freight: Ramsgate Port 'Will Not Be Ready In Time For No-Deal Brexit', Says Councillor

Ministers already under fire for handing contract to firm without any ferries.

Ramsgate Port will not be ready in time to welcome extra ferry services in the event of a no-deal Brexit, a councillor for the area fears.

Conservative Thanet district councillor Beverly Martin said the harbour “cannot be ready” for Brexit on March 29, according to the BBC.

As part of contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit, Seaborne Freight was awarded a contract to run a service between the Kent seaside town and Ostend.

Dredging started at the port on Thursday to prepare the harbour for larger vessels. Narrow berths in the port mean there are few suitable commercial vessels available.

Ministers had already come under fire for handing Seaborne Freight the £13.8 million contract as it has never run a ferry service.

The firm was also accused of “copying and pasting” a key section of its website from a takeaway outlet.

Martin is reported as saying: “From local knowledge, there is terrific concern that we [Ramsgate Port] cannot possibly be ready.

“There isn’t the width or the breadth of the berths that is needed to carry large ships.

“I don’t see how, with the state of the harbour and the port and the number of repairs that are needed that it could be ready.”

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She claimed the council, which owns the port, had not been contacted about opening the harbour up to larger freight ships.

The Department for Transport said it had been in discussions with the council for a couple of years, facilities would be open “as soon as practicable” and “works are under way”, according to the report.

Claims that residents had not been consulted were dismissed as “complete nonsense”, the BBC said.