Mar 1, 2019

Eurotunnel challenges 'secretive' Brexit ferry deals

At the end of December, the Department for Transport 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. For its part, the government will argue that it was not aware that Eurotunnel was in a position to get a ferry service up and running in time for Brexit, and that it approached all of the companies which currently operate ferries between the UK and the rest of Europe. Eurotunnel has previously voiced concerns more broadly about the potential impact of a no-deal Brexit on its business. Rew Dean, a director at law firm Clifford Chance, and a former government advisor, said that in such a scenario, "a critical part of the country's no-deal Brexit preparations could be swept away just weeks before Brexit Day on 29 March". Chris Grayling's Department for Transport first posted notices of its three Brexit ferry contracts onto an EU portal on Christmas Eve, probably in the assumption that they wouldn't attract much attention.

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