The contract given to Seaborne Freight to run ferries after Brexit has been scrapped after several complaints emerged that the firm had no experience running ferries and it did not own a single ship. Though the government had persisted with the agreement despite complaints it was forced to scrap the deal after the Irish firm which was backing it pulled out. When the deal was announced last year then transport secretary Chris Grayling faced strong criticism for signing a deal worth £ 13.8 million with Seaborne Freight which had never run a single ferry.
Transport department has announced that discussions are on with another commercial freight firm for services between Ramsgate and Ostend which will be finalized soon though opposition Labor Party has called for resignation of Transport Secy. Grayling describing him as the worst secretary ever. This could be the last chance for Britain to start and maintain commercial shipping between Ramsgate and Ostend in Belgium if it exits the EU without any deal. Politicians on both sides of the border had criticized the government for choosing a firm like Seaborne Freight without experience which did not even own ships and leaving no time for alternatives if it is unable to carry out expected services.
They had warned that delay will lead to lack of preparation at both ports of entry and exit before the deadline. But at that time government silenced critics saying that though Seaborne was a new shipping firm its capabilities to provide services had been vetted. But Arklow Shipping which is a formidable Ireland based firm withdrew its support to Seaborne following which even Department of Transport was forced cancel the deal. The district council of Thanet which covers Ramsgate has been investing money to get the port ready for ferry services as it has not been used for ferry since 2013 and requires massive dredging to allow large freight barges to lay anchor.