Following a robust procurement process, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps today (11 October 2019) announced that Brittany Ferries, DFDS, P&O and Stena Line will be ready to deliver capacity equivalent to thousands of HGVs per week from 31 October. The contracts will be in place for 6 months and are the first to result from the government’s freight capacity framework. Collectively they are worth up to £86.6 million.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "The UK is getting ready to leave the EU on the 31 October and, like any sensible government, we are preparing for all outcomes. Our decisive action means freight operators will be ready and waiting to transport vital medicines into the country from the moment we leave."
The firms will operate on routes which have been assessed as less likely to face any potential disruption, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. In order to bid for contracts all firms had to already be on the government’s freight capacity framework – a shortlist of experienced and capable freight operators. The framework will be in place for the next 4 years and will continue to be used to help quickly deliver any future procurement, should any further capacity be necessary.
In addition to securing the required freight capacity, the government is taking all the necessary steps to ensure there is limited disruption at the border after Brexit. Over the summer, the Department for Transport announced £30 million to bolster the country’s ports so that they can help continue the smooth flow of trade and transport after 31 October.
Last month, the government launched an information campaign aimed at hauliers across the UK and Europe, advising them on the documentation they need to operate freely across the border.
The government has stepped up its preparations for Brexit since July and has implemented the largest ever government public information campaign to get everyone ready for Brexit. Face-to-face Brexit Readiness Roadshows across the UK are also providing businesses with information and advice on what actions they should take.