UK’s secretary for Transport Chris Grayling has openly supported the selection of Seaborne Freight for running ferry services between Ramsgate and Ostend, a decision which had been facing flak as the firm does not have any experience of running such a service and it does not own any ships. Seaborne Freight won the government contract worth £ 13.8 million to run and manage freight services in the region after no-deal Brexit though it has no experience of carrying out such a service. But Mr. Chris Grayling stated that the contract was awarded after careful evaluation of the firm’s credentials and assurances from its promoters that they can deliver services as promised.
However news agencies have declared that the service contract was awarded randomly without prior publication or notice of such a competition. But the contract details say that such a step was taken as the government had limited time to finalize things due to Brexit and it was a situation of urgency so the only which had sent a bid namely Seaborne Freight had been selected. The DoT spokesperson said that though several transporters had been approached and asked to tender for the service the members of Road Haulage Association were worried about how trucks would go across the Channel.
The Seaborne Freight according to MD of the association has to first hire or buy ferries and then hire and train staff before linking up with authorities in the region to start its freight services. Most experienced people feel that the firm has very little time to carry out the feat as dredging works at Ramsgate will start only this week. The CEO of Seaborne Ben Sharp says that the firm will start operations with first two ships and will induct two more ships by summer. He has not shared any details about the size and capacity of ships he is likely to use for the service.