Transport secretary defends handing £14m ferry contract to company with no boats

Transport secretary Chris Grayling

Transport secretary Chris Grayling

LONDON-Britain's transport minister has defended awarding an $18 million contract for shipping goods after Brexit to a new ferry company that owns no ships.

Seaborne Freight did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Wednesday.

Britain awarded contracts worth more than 100 million pounds in total to three shipping firms to provide extra ferries.

Mr Grayling said Seaborne had been properly vetted before being chosen, after concerns were raised over its ability to fulfil the contract.

"I make no apologies for supporting a new British business", Transport Minister Chris Grayling told BBC radio January 2. We have looked very carefully at this business.

He told the BBC: "They will be on track to run ferries in April".

However, it has emerged that the firm now has no ferries or experience in running a Channel service.

In a statement at the end of December, the company said it had been working since 2017 on plans to reintroduce ferry sailings from Ramsgate from early 2019.

Another batting collapse leaves Australia reeling after day three in Fourth Test
At stumps then, Australia were trailing by 386 runs, with Peter Handscomb (28 not out) and Pat Cummins (25 not out) at the crease. But he was sent packing by a blinding reflex catch from Ajinkya Rahane at mid-wicket off Mohammed Shami´s bowling .

A majority of Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative Party members oppose her Brexit deal with the European Union saying it does not respect the result of the 2016 Brexit referendum, according to a survey published on Friday (4 January).

On Thursday the company, Seaborne Freight, came in for further criticism when its business terms and conditions showed references to placing "any meal/order", prompting speculation on social media that it had copied the format from a takeaway delivery company.

"If Chris Grayling is serious about supporting new British business he might wish to reconsider his position on the damaging Brexit his government is pursuing and give the people the final say".

He added that he believes channel ports would be able "to operate normally in all Brexit circumstances".

Less than a quarter, 23 per cent, would vote for Theresa May's deal in a three-way referendum between the deal, no-deal and remaining in the EU.

The prime minister is under pressure to win fresh concessions from Brussels to allow it to get through the Commons, after plans for the vote to be held last month were pulled in the face of nearly certain defeat.

"If Theresa May is hoping that her MPs will return to Westminster having been persuaded by their constituency associations to back her Brexit deal, she's going to be disappointed".

Paul Messenger, the Conservative councillor for Ramsgate, has already said he reckons there's no chance the company - which is only two years old - can get new routes up and running for 29 March.

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