The Council has been working on re-establishing ferry services at the Port of Ramsgate and is currently in discussions with a potential operator, Seaborne Freight to establish a freight operation from Ramsgate to Ostend. The council has been keen to re-establish a ferry service since before the vote to leave the EU.
We recognise that Ramsgate could play a role in 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. As part of this the council has reviewed the capability of the Port of Ramsgate to provide capacity to support the Brexit position which, with an investment of £26 million, includes the potential for up to 24 sailings a day which would create capacity to divert 3,360 lorry movements per day from Operation Brock from the M20 and M26 significantly reducing pressure from the Port of Dover during peak traffic flows. This would be especially beneficial to the ‘Just in Time’ production processes and logistics for example the chilled food sector.
This information has been shared with Government. The Government has not responded to the council on that basis but we are aware that the Government is having discussions with other parties regarding contingency arrangements. The Port is one of the largest municipally-owned commercial ports and is the second closest UK Port to the continent. The requirement for cross channel freight volume is expected to increase steadily beyond Brexit 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.