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No deal Brexit plans: Britain to spend £100 million on ferries

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The British government will spend more than £100 million chartering ferries to ease congestion at the Port of Dover, and ensure key supplies can get to the UK in the event of a no deal Brexit.

According to a BBC report, the Department for Transport has given additional ferry contracts to French, Dutch and British companies, which will add capacity for around 4,000 more lorries per week to come through ports such as Plymouth, Poole, and Portsmouth.

The plans are in place to ease what is expected to be “severe” congestion at Dover in the event that a deal cannot be ratified by both sides before March 29.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the DfT said the contracts would provide “significant extra capacity” to UK ports in the event of a no deal Brexit.

The contracts were awarded to French firm Brittany Ferries, Danish freight company DFDS, and UK-based Seaborne Freight, the BBC reports. The French and Danish firms have been awarded contracts worth around £45 million each, while Seaborne’s contract is worth around £14 million.

Read more: Conservative MPs threaten to quit the party if Theresa May pursues a no-deal Brexit

The plans have been roundly criticised by Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable, who described them as “complete madness,” according to the BBC.

“The government has the power to stop “no deal” at any time but instead is spending millions on last minute contracts,” he said.

“The fact that this money is predominantly going to European companies is nothing short of ironic, reducing Britain to a laughing stock on the global stage.”

Earlier in December the government confirmed plans to commit around £2 billion in additional funding for no deal Brexit planning. At the time Business Insider reported that part of those plans was the booking of space on ferries to ensure that essential medical supplies could make their way into the country from the EU.

As part of those plans, the Department for Exiting the EU will send 80,000 emails to UK business groups and roll out a nationwide advertising campaign warning firms to prepare for a no deal Brexit.

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