Secretive Thanet District Council (TDC) has been forced, by Freedom of Information laws, to reveal to me the level of interest in operating a ferry service from the Port of Ramsgate. According to the data provided to me, 22 meetings have been in held in the 2 year and 7 month period between March 2016 and October 2018 with 5 separate ferry operators.
Three of the ferry operators are from EU counties - Poland, Denmark and the Netherlands. Two of the operators are from the UK. Four of the operators appear to have quickly lost interest in setting up a service from Ramsgate and have not engaged in meetings with TDC since 2017.
The remaining operator, which I believe to be UK based Seaborne Freight has been talking to the Council for more than 2 years about operating a freight ferry service from Ramsgate. Between July 2016 and October 2018 the company has held 14 meetings with TDC.
I don’t know about you, but 2 years of discussion and negotiations seems an exceptionally long period of time to agree and set up an operational ferry service from the Port of Ramsgate. Is it possible that Seaborne Freight has failed to convince the powers that be at TDC that it can operate a viable cross channel ferry service from Ramsgate? Whatever the explanation might be for these prolonged talks, one thing is clear, there has been very little interest in operating a ferry service from Ramsgate Port. And I think it’s extremely unlikely that any sort of service is likely to be established in the foreseeable future.
In the meantime, the question must be asked what the officer and political leadership of TDC intends to do to stop the haemorrhaging of council tax payers money into a port which has failed and which is technically bankrupt. Surely now is the time to commission an investigation into alternative, leisure based uses for the Port instead of continuing to pile up astronomic operating losses which currently total more than £20million run up over the past 8 years. Ramsgate Port in its current guise is without doubt economically unsustainable. How much more money will tax payers be forced to pay out to keep this ghost port open? ow much mor