Brittany Ferries awarded £46m contract for more services in the event of a no-deal Brexit

A FERRY operator which runs from Portsmouth will receive tens of millions of pounds to provide more services in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Brittany Ferries has been earmarked for a £46.6m influx as part of a £107m plan confirmed this weekend to ease potential pressure on Dover after Britain withdraws from the EU.

Brittany Ferries' Baie de Seine arriving in Portsmouth Harbour. The ship is one of two which journeys from the city to Le Havre. Picture: Tony Weaver

Brittany Ferries' Baie de Seine arriving in Portsmouth Harbour. The ship is one of two which journeys from the city to Le Havre. Picture: Tony Weaver

Coming from the government’s Department for Transport, it is understood the money would see the operator add 19 return sailings between the UK and France – including increasing capacity on its route between Portsmouth and Le Havre. 

More sailings would also travel between Plymouth and Roscoff and Poole and Cherbourg, collectively representing a 50 per cent increase on the firm’s current schedule.

The changes will come into play on March 29, 2019.

Christophe Mathieu, Brittany Ferries chief executive, said: ‘Our priority is to prepare for a no-deal Brexit and to create additional capacity.

‘By increasing the number of rotations on routes like Le Havre – Portsmouth we will be able to meet the Department for Transport's Brexit requirement.

‘We will also work hard to minimise impact on existing Brittany Ferries freight customers and passengers, although there may be some changes to some sailing times, for which we apologise in advance.’ 

Contracts for the fund were not put out to tender and the Department for Transport allegedly described the situation as one of ‘extreme urgency’. 

The plan is geared at increasing freight capacity and space for lorries, with fears increased border checks at UK ports could delay goods deliveries if no Brexit deal is struck. 

Ports in Portsmouth, Poole, Plymouth, Immingham and Felixstowe would all be used, with 

DFDS being awarded a contract for £47.3m, while Seaborne Freight was given £13.8m.

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: ‘This significant extra capacity is a small but important element of the Department for Transport's no-deal Brexit planning.

‘While remaining committed to working to ensure a deal is reached successfully, the department is helping ensure the rest of government are fully prepared for a range of scenarios, including a particular focus on a potential no-deal and to mitigate the impact of any Brexit outcome on all transport modes.’

The News has contacted local MPs about the plans.