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£87m Paid by UK Government for No-Deal Brexit Ferry Contracts

12th October 2019
At the Port of Dover, AFLOAT adds in the foreground is a 'Darwin' class ferry of P&O Ferries, one of four ferry firms awarded contracts to transport medicines in the event of a no-deal Brexit. In the background is newbuild cruiseship Spirit of Discovery (SAGA) which made its maiden calls to Ireland this season and Europa (Hapag-Lloyd Cruises), a previous caller to such waters. At the Port of Dover, AFLOAT adds in the foreground is a 'Darwin' class ferry of P&O Ferries, one of four ferry firms awarded contracts to transport medicines in the event of a no-deal Brexit. In the background is newbuild cruiseship Spirit of Discovery (SAGA) which made its maiden calls to Ireland this season and Europa (Hapag-Lloyd Cruises), a previous caller to such waters. Photo: Port of Dover-twitter

BBC News reports that the UK government has awarded £86.6m of contracts to ferry companies to transport medicines in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Brittany Ferries, DFDS (see: related Brexit info), P&O and Stena Line will be able to deliver those supplies from 31 October, it said.

The contracts are aimed at making sure deliveries of vital products continue, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

The government was criticised earlier this year after awarding a transport contract to a company (Seaborne Freight) with no ferries.

The contracts will be in place for six months so the government is prepared for different Brexit scenarios, a spokesperson said.

For more including concerns over sourcing of medical supplies click here. 

Published in Ferry
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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Ferry & Car Ferry News The ferry industry on the Irish Sea, is just like any other sector of the shipping industry, in that it is made up of a myriad of ship operators, owners, managers, charterers all contributing to providing a network of routes carried out by a variety of ships designed for different albeit similar purposes.

All this ferry activity involves conventional ferry tonnage, 'ro-pax', where the vessel's primary design is to carry more freight capacity rather than passengers. This is in some cases though, is in complete variance to the fast ferry craft where they carry many more passengers and charging a premium.

In reporting the ferry scene, we examine the constantly changing trends of this sector, as rival ferry operators are competing in an intensive environment, battling out for market share following the fallout of the economic crisis. All this has consequences some immediately felt, while at times, the effects can be drawn out over time, leading to the expense of others, through reduced competition or takeover or even face complete removal from the marketplace, as witnessed in recent years.

Arising from these challenging times, there are of course winners and losers, as exemplified in the trend to run high-speed ferry craft only during the peak-season summer months and on shorter distance routes. In addition, where fastcraft had once dominated the ferry scene, during the heady days from the mid-90's onwards, they have been replaced by recent newcomers in the form of the 'fast ferry' and with increased levels of luxury, yet seeming to form as a cost-effective alternative.

Irish Sea Ferry Routes

Irrespective of the type of vessel deployed on Irish Sea routes (between 2-9 hours), it is the ferry companies that keep the wheels of industry moving as freight vehicles literally (roll-on and roll-off) ships coupled with motoring tourists and the humble 'foot' passenger transported 363 days a year.

As such the exclusive freight-only operators provide important trading routes between Ireland and the UK, where the freight haulage customer is 'king' to generating year-round revenue to the ferry operator. However, custom built tonnage entering service in recent years has exceeded the level of capacity of the Irish Sea in certain quarters of the freight market.

A prime example of the necessity for trade in which we consumers often expect daily, though arguably question how it reached our shores, is the delivery of just in time perishable products to fill our supermarket shelves.

A visual manifestation of this is the arrival every morning and evening into our main ports, where a combination of ferries, ro-pax vessels and fast-craft all descend at the same time. In essence this a marine version to our road-based rush hour traffic going in and out along the commuter belts.

Across the Celtic Sea, the ferry scene coverage is also about those overnight direct ferry routes from Ireland connecting the north-western French ports in Brittany and Normandy.

Due to the seasonality of these routes to Europe, the ferry scene may be in the majority running between February to November, however by no means does this lessen operator competition.

Noting there have been plans over the years to run a direct Irish –Iberian ferry service, which would open up existing and develop new freight markets. Should a direct service open, it would bring new opportunities also for holidaymakers, where Spain is the most visited country in the EU visited by Irish holidaymakers ... heading for the sun!

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