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        Port of Ramsgate – Frequently Asked Questions

        Thanet District Council owns and operates the Port of Ramsgate.

        The council is currently in discussion with Seaborne Freight to establish a new freight service out of Ramsgate.  Our latest statement on the Port can be viewed here. 

        Please see our Frequently Asked Questions below for key information about the Port and for the current status with these discussions.

        Why is Thanet District Council looking to re-establish a ferry operation at Ramsgate Port?

        The Port of Ramsgate is one of the largest municipally-owned commercial ports and is the second closest UK Port to the continent. Throughout its history, it has remained one of Thanet District Council’s most valuable assets and securing its long term future has been a priority.

        The location provides for short sea passage times and has a dedicated access road and tunnel leading to the Port, which minimises the impact on traffic-flow in the town.
        Cross channel freight is expected to increase by 1.43 million units per year by 2035 and the Port of Ramsgate can play a significant part in providing additional capacity. This would give increased resilience to the European logistics market and support the flow of traffic across the South East of England, especially the Thames corridor and would link into the third Thames crossing, diverting traffic east rather than south to Dover and the Channel tunnel.

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        What facilities does the Port of Ramsgate have?

        The Port has:

        • 32 acres of commercial land
        • Three modern Ro-Ro (Roll on Roll Off) bridges and pontoons with double lane access
        • A fast freight ferry service capability
        • Tri-berth simultaneous operation
        • Full passenger services and freight vessel facilities
        • Modern and effective VTS
        • Multi-deck vessel, stern and quarter ramp capabilities
        • Water and bunker facilities on all berths
        • Dedicated access road and tunnel leading to the Port
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        When was the last cross-channel service at the Port of Ramsgate?

        Transeuropa was the last company to operate a cross-channel Ro-Ro (roll on, roll off) freight and passenger service out of Ramsgate in April 2013.

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        What is the Port currently used for?

        The Port is currently used to support a number of commercial operations which bring an income to the council.

        It facilitates an ad hoc Ro-Ro service in the form of importing trade cars for the UK market.

        The Port is the operation and maintenance base of two companies who manage four offshore wind farms circa 320 turbines.

        Brett Aggregates also import bulk aggregates via a dedicated aggregate berth. Some of this material feeds the on site concrete batching plant which serves the local building industry.

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        What is the current status with the Port of Ramsgate in terms of securing a new ferry operation?

        The council is in discussion with Seaborne Freight to establish a new freight ferry operation running from the Port of Ramsgate to Ostend. A contract has not yet been signed.

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        Are you only considering re-establishing a ferry crossing because of Brexit?

        No. The council has been working to re-establish a ferry service from Ramsgate since before the vote to leave the EU. It is something the council has been keen to re-establish since the last ferry operation ceased in April 2013.

        The Port of Ramsgate could however play an important role supporting post-Brexit resilience by offering an alternative route for some cross-Channel traffic, to ensure at least some movement of goods should there be significant delays in Dover.

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        How much capacity could the Port of Ramsgate provide to support Brexit resilience?

        As part of its resilience planning (in Autumn 2018) ahead of a possible no deal Brexit , the council reviewed the capability of the Port of Ramsgate. As part of this it identified that with an investment of £26 million, the Port would have the potential to deliver up to 24 sailings a day. This would create capacity to divert up to 3,360 HGVs per day from the M20 and M26 significantly reducing pressure on the Port of Dover and Channel Tunnel during peak traffic flows.

        These operations will continue as usual under existing contractual terms and would not be affected if a ferry deal is not secured or by a reduction in costs at the Port.

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        Does the council have £26m to invest in the Port of Ramsgate?

        No. This is the amount the council identified would be needed in order to achieve the level of capacity identified as part of its resilience planning

        This level of investment would enable the provision of a new Ro-Ro (roll on, roll off) berth, dredging of both the Port inner basin and approach channel and enhancement of Port infrastructure including check in booths and additional security to accommodate the 6,720 HGVs, 3,360 inbound and 3,360 outbound the capacity that 24 sailings a day would create.

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        How has the council invested in the Port of Ramsgate to date?

        There has been significant investment to attract business opportunities. These include refurbishing two of the Port’s three Ro-Ro (roll on, roll off) berths. This £1.2million project has extended the operational life of these berths to allow the Port to accommodate new business and meet the growing demand for cross channel freight capacity. As a result, new cars bound for the UK market were imported to Ramsgate during the last quarter of the 2017/18 financial year and stored at Ramsgate prior to onward transport to
        Customers.

        Further imports occurred during the summer of 2018.

         

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        Has the council identified in its budget for 2019-2020 that it needs to make savings of £730,000 at the Port?

        Yes. The council has identified that £730,000 is required and is continuing with its strategy to achieve a ferry operation for the Port of Ramsgate. If this goes ahead, this will provide sufficient income to cover the savings required of £730,000.

        If this doesn’t go ahead, as stated in the budget report 2019-20, the council will be making cost reductions at the Port.

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        If a ferry deal is not secured, what impact will this have on existing arrangements at the Port of Ramsgate?

        The Port is currently used to support a number of commercial operations which bring an income to the council. Please see current status.

        These operations will continue as usual under existing contractual terms and would not be affected if a ferry deal is not secured or by a reduction in costs at the Port.

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