Seaborne Freight

  1. 'Ministerial incompetence'

    ferry

    Shadow Transport Secretary Andy McDonald has responded to that news that Brexit ferry contracts have been cancelled.

    “Chris Grayling and the ferry contracts will evermore be a case study in ministerial incompetence.

    “The Transport Secretary’s approach to procurement and planning has cost taxpayers tens, if not, hundreds of millions of pounds. His career as a minister has left a trail of scorched earth and billions of pounds of public money wasted.

    “This country cannot afford Chris Grayling.”

    There's a story here.

  2. Grayling: might need more Brexit ferries

    Chris Grayling

    Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has not ruled out that the government might need to negotiate another set of ferry contracts if a no deal Brexit situation arises in the autumn.

    Speaking to the BBC, Mr Grayling defended the current contracts, which are now being cancelled.

    He said it was a small part the government’s “insurance package that the government put in place in case of a no deal”.

    “People would expect a responsible govt to take out an insurance policy. We never wanted it but needed to be ready for it.”

    But asked if the government might need to negotiate new contracts in October if a no deal Brexit situation was looking like an outcome, he said the government would need to “collectively” decide “what preparations will we need to put in place if find ourselves back in no deal situation, I hope we won’t be in that situation.”

  3. Brexit ferries fall-out

    Eurotunnel

    Chris Grayling’s department has already been forced to pay ?33m to Eurotunnel, to settle a case which challenged the procurement process for the ferry contracts.

    The DfT is now also facing legal action from P&O Ferries, which claims its rival Eurotunnel was given a competitive advantage by the government.

  4. Government cancels remaining Brexit ferry contracts

    Joe Miller

    Business reporter

    Brittany Ferries

    The Department for Transport will terminate its remaining no-deal Brexit ferry contracts with operators Brittany Ferries and DFDS.

    The cancellations could cost the taxpayer tens of millions of pounds, despite the fact that some of the ?89m worth of procured capacity will be sold back to the market.

    If extra cross-channel freight services are needed again in the run-up to the new Brexit deadline in October, the govt will likely have to negotiate a new set of contracts.

    In February, the National Audit Office estimated that the cancellation costs of all three ferry contracts would be ?56.6m.

    The move comes just months after the DfT was forced to axe its ?13.8m contract with athird company, Seaborne Freight, which the BBC found had never sailed a vessel.

  5. Eurotunnel statement

    train and eurotunnel sign

    Eurotunnel has responded to the out-of-court settlement it agreed today with the government awarding contracts for extra ferry services in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

    The settlement will "ensure that the Channel Tunnel remains the preferred route for vital goods to travel between the EU and the UK," Eurotunnel said.

    "The agreement enables the development of infrastructure, security and border measures that will guarantee the flow of vehicles carrying urgent and vital goods and that will keep supply chains essential to both industry and consumers moving”.

    There's more detail here.

  6. Labour calls for Grayling to go

    Andy McDonald,Shadow Transport Secretary, has called for Chris Grayling to leave his role as Transport Secretary after the settlement with Eurotunnel today.

    "His conduct as a minister is one of serial failure and routine incompetence. In any other sphere of life he would have been sacked long ago. I say yet again: this trail of destruction has gone on long enough. It’s time for Chris Grayling to go," Mr McDonald said.

  7. Grayling 'disappointed'

    Chris Grayling

    Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary, who awarded the original contracts has been facing criticism for his role in the Brexit preparations.

    He said, after the settlement with Eurotunnel, that it was "disappointing" the company took legal action.

    “While it is disappointing that Eurotunnel chose to take legal action on contracts in place to ensure the smooth supply of vital medicines, I am pleased that this agreement will ensure the Channel Tunnel is ready for a post-Brexit world," he said.

  8. More on Eurotunnel

    A road sign points the way to France at the Eurotunnel terminal on May 10, 2016 in Folkestone, United Kingdom

    As part of the ?33m settlement, Eurotunnel withdrew its legal claim against the government over the award of three shipping contracts in preparation for Brexit, the government said.

    In addition, Eurotunel had "committed to implement measures which will improve security and traffic flow at the border, benefitting both passengers and businesses", it said.

    The aim is to improve access to the UK terminal, increase security protection and improve traffic flow through the tunnel.

    The extra freight capacity arranged with with Brittany Ferries and DFDS would be "protected," the government added.

    That freight capacity will help ensure "the continued supply in a no deal scenario of crucial medicines, medical supplies and veterinary medicines," the government said.

    It has already axed the contract with the third company, Seaborne Freight.

  9. BreakingGovernment settles case with ?33m for Eurotunnel

    harbour
    Image caption: Seaborne Freight has had its contract for the Ramsgate-to-Ostend route revoked

    The government has settled with Eurotunnel for up to ?33m over its court challenge over the contracts it awarded to three shipping firms as part of no-deal Brexit preparations.

    Eurotunnel, which operates railway services between the UK and France, said the contracts were handed out in a "secretive" way.

    At the end of December, the Department for Transport (DfT) contracted three suppliers - Brittany Ferries, DFDS and Seaborne Freight - to provide additional freight capacity for lorries at ports other than Dover, in the event that a no-deal Brexit leads to congestion on roads down to the coast.

  10. Video content

    Video caption: Opposition call for Chris Grayling to step down

    Labour's shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald has called on Chris Grayling to "step down".