Saturday 29 June 2019 3:30 pm

UK readies for no-deal Brexit with fresh freight plans

The government is asking transport firms to make an offer to provide extra freight capacity that would be used in the event of a no-deal Brexit at the end of October.

More than £85m was wasted in the lead up to the initial date the UK was due to leave the EU following a rushed process.

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That figure included a £34m settlement and legal fees with Eurotunnel, while ministers also had to cancel contracts worth more than £100m with Seaborne Freight, DFDS and Brittany Ferries.

A £13.8m contract with Seaborne had to been axed when it was revealed the company had no ships or trading history.

Transport secretary Chris Gatling faced calls to resign in the wake of the incident, but has remained in post.

The contract had been awarded without a full public tender process, prompting the legal action from Eurotunnel.

The government also paid out more than £51m to DFDS and Brittany Ferries to cancel contracts when the UK extended its withdrawal agreement.

This time the EU’s tendering system is being used as part of a less hurried process.

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The department for transport is inviting bids from all “suitably qualified freight operators” as part of a more open systematic effort.

So far it’s unclear which operators will be willing to step forward, although Brittany Ferries told the BBC it would “carefully consider” what it could offer.