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Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Ramsgate Port: Little Interest In Ferry Services: Losses Continue

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

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ian,

    Interesting post. It seems to answer some of recent questions that Chris Grayling wouldn't or couldn't.

    Do you know if the Dutch and Danish ferry companies that recently received funding for a Ramsgate route are the companies that you mention above as being in discussions with TDC?

    Also, do you happen to know how much dredging the port is expected to cost, and is the estimated 25 days a realistic timeframe? It doesn't seem realistic to me.

    Our local estuary was dredged to develop a marina about 20 years ago. The dredging took far longer than 25 days, and that was just to accommodate yachts and pleasure boats at a small marina.

    I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on these questions and this issue in general.


    Aoife Boylan