Transport secretary defends handing £14m ferry contract to company with no boats

Chris Grayling

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

The Transport Secretary has defended his decision to award a £14 million contract for ferry services in the event of a no-deal Brexit to a firm with no boats.

Chris Grayling claimed that giving shipping company Seaborne Freight the contract was in the interests of "supporting new business".

Under the contract, the firm will provide freight services between the ports of Ramsgate in England and Ostend in Belgium if Britain leaves the EU without a deal.

However, it has emerged that the firm currently has no ferries or experience in running a Channel service.



"It's a new start-up business, government is supporting new business and there is nothing wrong with that," Mr Grayling said.

"We have looked very carefully at this business and have put in place a tight contract that makes sure they can deliver for us.

"This has been looked at very carefully by a team of civil servants who have done due diligence."

The Transport Secretary added that the shipping company was "on track" to run services from April.