London : Concerns have been raised over the readiness of a British firm contracted by the government to run extra ferries in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
Seaborne Freight was awarded a £13.8m contract this week to run a freight service between Ramsgate and Ostend.
The firm has never run a ferry service and a local councillor said it would be impossible to launch before Brexit.
The government said it had awarded the contract in “the full knowledge that Seaborne is a new shipping provider”.
The Department for Transport said that “the extra capacity and vessels would be provided as part of its first services”.
“As with all contracts, we carefully vetted the company’s commercial, technical and financial position in detail before making the award,” it added.
Conservative Kent county councillor Paul Messenger said it was impossible for the government to have carried out sufficient checks on the firm.
“It has no ships and no trading history so how can due diligence be done?” he asked.