UK pulls Brexit ferry deal from firm with no ships
London: Weeks of public sniggering and indignation culminated Saturday when the British government cancelled a ferry contract it had awarded to a firm with no ships. The island nation’s breakup with the European Union took an odd turn in December when it handed the unheralded Seaborne Freight company the £13.8-million deal.
It was meant to make sure that cross-Channel trade with its closest trading partners did not grind to a halt if Britain ended up leaving on March 29 without new arrangements in place. Fears of the dreaded “no-deal Brexit” are rising as the clock nears the hour when the United Kingdom ends its 46 years involvement in the European project. The agreement London and Brussels sealed in December is currently stuck in the UK parliament.
Many lawmakers oppose it and Prime Minister Theresa May’s efforts to get sweeteners from the EU that could help push it over the line are being rebuffed.
The Seaborne Freight contract was the smallest of three emergency ferry deals transport secretary Chris Grayling quietly approved over the Christmas break. But it quickly became the most famous -- or perhaps infamous -- when reporters discovered that Seaborne Freight was a startup that had never actually been involved in this line of work.