The justification for repairing and recommissioning berth is to ensure that the berth is operational in readiness for new cross channel ferry opportunities from Ramsgate. The use of the phrase new cross channel ferry opportunities is worth examining closely. It suggest to me that the Council do not have a ferry operator lined up and that the £664,000 investment in recommissioning berth 3 was a speculative investment in the hope that TDC gets lucky and finds a ferry operator with spare capacity. But something is clearly in the air, because today a dredger was spotted in Ramsgate Port presumable preparing to dredge the port in readiness for a large ship to use the recommissioned berth 3 or berth 4/5. So what can be happening?
Well I don’t personally believe that a cross-channel ferry is coming to Ramsgate at all. I think that this statement of intent has been used to deceive and mislead local residents and lull them into a false sense of security. In my opinion the current works to the port, including the recommissioning of berth 3, are to prepare the Port of Ramsgate to play a major support role in the dredging of the Goodwin Sands which aims to provide 2.5million cubic metres of aggregate for the redevelopment of Dover Port.
Sometime in December it is expected that the Government’s Marine Management Organisation will grant Dover Harbour Board (DHB) a licence to dredge the Goodwin Sands. DHB are on record as saying that if they get their licence they intend to begin dredging in the spring of 2017. Co-incidentally, the Urgent Individual Cabinet Member Decision to be discussed at the council meeting tomorrow night says that “It is essential that the project (the recommissioning of berth 3) is completed before next spring”. I would bet that before too long the withdrawn Brett Aggregate’s application for a an aggregate washing plant at the Port will be resubmitted and that Ramsgate Port will rapidly become the aggregate supply centre for the 3-year £200million Dover Harbour expansion project.
Of course this is all speculation on my part but I publically challenge the powers that be at Thanet Council to deny what I am claiming is the truth.