Plans to expand Ramsgate to relieve Dover are far too little and far too late says RHA
The Road Haulage Association has reacted with caution to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling’s plans to expand the port of Ramsgate in an attempt to bypass the Dover-Calais bottleneck – inevitable in the event of a disorderly Brexit.
Up to £200m has been earmarked for the development of the port with back-up plans for increased freight traffic and truck parking at the nearby port of Sheerness. However, Ramsgate is currently unable to accommodate large vessels.
Commenting, RHA Chief Executive Richard Burnett said: "This plan to upgrade Ramsgate port operations has come too late to be effective if there is a no-deal Brexit. The port needs dredging – ferries need to be procured and proper crossing routes established.”
The RHA says the proposed service will require larger trucks which in turn will require a deeper draft for vessels. Ramsgate is not used to dealing with HGV ferry traffic.
Richard Burnett continued: “Contingency planning of this type should have been done two years ago – not just 136 days before Brexit. It’s completely impractical to see a shift of traffic from Dover to Ramsgate in this timescale – it takes time to launch new services and time to recruit and train new staff.”