UK government cancels Brexit ferry deals

Brittany Ferries Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Brittany Ferries is one of the suppliers which had a contract to provide extra ferry services

The Department for Transport is cancelling contracts to provide extra ferry services after Brexit.

Ending the contracts with Brittany Ferries and DFDS could cost the taxpayer tens of millions of pounds.

The government bought £89m worth of capacity from the two firms. Some of that capacity might be sold, but millions of pounds could be lost.

The contracts were designed to ease pressure on the port of Dover, by creating extra services at other ports.

In February, the DfT was forced to axe its £13.8m contract with a third company, Seaborne Freight, which the BBC found had never sailed a vessel.

Earlier this year, the National Audit Office estimated that the cancellation costs of all the ferry contracts would be £56.6m.

Chris Grayling’s department was also forced to pay £33m to Eurotunnel, to settle a case which challenged the procurement process for the ferry contracts.

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

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

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