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No-Brexit Deal: UK charters Ro-Pax Ferries to ease Cross Channel Congestion - Spends 108 GDP

No-deal contingency plans are being stepped up in preparation for increased border checks delaying delivery of critical goods at UK ports.

The Department for Transport (DfT) has signed contracts worth £107.7 million with French, Danish and British ferry companies.

It’s hoped almost 4,000 more lorries a week can come and go on these added ferries from other ports, including Plymouth, Poole, and Portsmouth.

The additional crossings are understood to be the equivalent of around 10% of the current traffic on the Dover Strait.

Contracts were not put out to tender, with the DfT saying it was a ‘situation of extreme urgency’ brought about by ‘unforeseeable events’.

Danish company DFDS was awarded a contract worth £47.3 million, while the UK’s Seaborne Freight was given a £13.8 million deal.

The contract with French firm Brittany Ferries is worth £46.6 million, with the company adding 19 return sailings to three routes between the UK and France.

More sailings will travel between Roscoff and Plymouth, Cherbourg and Poole, and Le Havre and Portsmouth, representing a 50% increase on its current schedule.

A spokesman for the DfT said: ‘This significant extra capacity is a small but important element of the Department for Transport’s no-deal Brexit planning.

‘While remaining committed to working to ensure a deal is reached successfully, the department is helping ensure the rest of Government are fully prepared for a range of scenarios, including a particular focus on a potential no-deal and to mitigate the impact of any Brexit outcome on all transport modes.’