The Road Haulage Association has reacted with caution to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling’s plans to expand the port of Ramsgate in an attempt to bypass the Dover-Calais bottleneck – inevitable in the event of a disorderly Brexit.
Up to £200m has been earmarked for the development of the port with back-up plans for increased freight traffic and truck parking at the nearby port of Sheerness. However, Ramsgate is currently unable to accommodate large vessels.
Commenting, RHA Chief Executive Richard Burnett said: ““This planning to upgrade Ramsgate port operations has come too late to be effective if there is a no-deal Brexit. The port needs dredging – ferries need to be procured and proper crossing routes established.”
The RHA says the proposed service will require larger trucks which in turn will require a deeper draft for vessels. Ramsgate is not used to dealing with HGV ferry traffic.
Richard Burnett continued: “Contingency planning of this type should have been done two years ago – not just 136 days to Brexit. It’s completely impractical to see a shift of traffic from Dover to Ramsgate in this timescale – it takes time to launch new services and time to recruit and train new staff.”