Whichever side of the fence you sit regarding Brexit, I am sure that everyone is unhappy about the way in which the Governemnt is handling matters.
Of all the debatable decisions made by the Government in my opinion they really hit an all-time low with the decision to grant over £100 million to three companies to provide extra sailings in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Okay, one can understand DFDS and Brittany Ferries, proven operators, receiving grants, although personally I would rather see the support going to a British company. However, the decision to award Seaborne Freight Ltd. £13.8 million defies logic.
This is a company who owns no ships, has never owned or operated ships and has no track record in this sector of the maritime transport industry. They have no employees, no ports, one telephone line and no working website or sailing schedule.
To add to the farce it was revealed Seaborne Freight used terms and conditions copied and pasted from a takeaway food delivery company’s website.
Kent county councillor Paul Messenger said it was impossible for the government to have carried out sufficient checks on the firm.
“It has no ships and no trading history so how can due diligence be done?” he asked.
It is difficult to imagine how a company starting from fresh could get a ferry service between Ramsgate and Ostend up and running by 29th March, the date when the UK is due to leave the European Union. The port of Ramsgate is only suitable for certain vessels because of its narrow berths and such vessels are not readily available.
It would appear that the Government has totally lost the plot on this initiative.