Seaborne Freight

Thank you for contacting me about Government preparedness for supporting the maritime sector in the event of a no-deal exit from the European Union (EU).

The Government is keen to ensure that any potential disruption resulting from the UK leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement in March 2019 is mitigated as far as possible. One aspect of the Department for Transport’s planning includes setting aside £102.9 million of funding to charter additional ferry services to aid the flow of goods into the country by easing pressure on the port of Dover in the unlikely event of no deal.

I am reassured by Ministers that the charter contract awarded to Seaborne Freight was decided upon only after careful consideration, including thorough vetting of the company’s commercial, financial and technical position.

The DfT took into account the fact that Seaborne Freight is a new shipping provider, and it will need to meet several stringent and time-staged requirements to prove that it can offer effective services. Indeed, there are break clauses which work in the DfT’s and taxpayer's favour should the company prove unable to meet its obligations. I am glad that taxpayer’s money will only be provided to the company if it offers an effective service.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

Craig Whittaker MP

January 2019