London, United Kingdom
VIJAY SHAH via JOE ROBERTS/Metro
The British government had to settle a bill of £33 million (USD $43.6 million) to the cross-Channel train service Eurotunnel due to a series of ferry contracts ministers had set up in the event of a ‘no-deal Brexit’, the newspaper Metro reported yesterday.
Fearful of losing valuable trade with the European continent once EU trade agreements with the UK cease to exist on March 29, national politicians began arranging agreements with various ferry companies to continue movement of goods and people. However, the process became an international laughing stock after the government’s transport secretary, Chris Grayling, signed off on a £13.8 million ($18.2 million) contract with a Kent-based Irish transport company, Seaborne Logistics, who actually possessed no ferries, available sea routes or sea transportation experience, and had even copy-pasted their website’s terms and conditions from a pizza takeaway’s site.
The resultant mess angered Eurotunnel, the firm that runs the Channel Tunnel linking England and France. The company complained to the UK’s Department for Transport and then sued them, forcing ministers to agree the £33 million settlement. Eurotunnel claim that they were not consulted by the British government over the new maritime contracts.
The government signed on three different contracts totalling £108 million ($142.7 million) with ferry companies in order to ease pressure on the port of Dover, the main clearing house for most goods arriving in the UK from mainland Europe, should Britain depart the European Union with no deal in place. The Seaborne controversy and now the Eurotunnel settlement is expected to cause more embarrassment for Transport Secretary Grayling, who was also castigated for his handling of disputes concerning national rail services, which have been hit by a series of strikes and disruptions affecting tens of thousands of commuters.
Metro, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/MetroUK/
“Government must pay £33,000,000 to Eurotunnel over Brexit ferry contracts” – Joe Roberts, Metro/Associated Newspapers Limited (1 March 2019) https://metro.co.uk/2019/03/01/government-must-pay-33000000-eurotunnel-brexit-ferry-contracts-8788623/?ito=social&fbclid=IwAR3iH07FaKZ5orvJNH6B9cEIR43BfSZvCf5lJMbjLX9-lhyjk4qh8N4hSMo
“Eurostar England France London – – Free photo on Pixabay” – hpgruesen, Pixabay (5 September 2017) https://pixabay.com/photos/eurostar-england-france-2719577/