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Ferry fiasco: Brexit delays could add millions to government bill

Lorries at the Dover Ferry Terminal | Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Ferry fiasco: Brexit delays could add millions to government bill

Brittany Ferries and DFDS making preparations for March 29 deadline.

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3/16/19, 3:22 PM CET

Updated 3/16/19, 4:26 PM CET

The U.K. government will have to make extra payments in the region of “tens of millions of pounds” to ferry companies if Brexit is delayed, the BBC reported.

After the government signed contracts to prepare extra cross-Channel ferry capacity in case of a no-deal Brexit, it was already forced to spend €33 million settling a legal challenge from Eurotunnel — as well as canceling a contract with Seaborne Freight.

Now, officials from the Department for Transport told the BBC that extra payments must be made to Brittany Ferries and Danish ferry company DFDS to account for preparations already carried out, even if the March 29 deadline is pushed back.

Brittany Ferries told the outlet it had planned 20 additional weekly sailings and taken on extra staff, as well as changed 20,000 passenger bookings. “The new schedule cannot now be changed, even as an extension to Article 50 seems likely,” the company said in a statement.

An earlier estimate from the Financial Times put the extra costs at €28 million.

A DfT spokesperson told the BBC “the legal default in UK and EU law remains that the UK will leave the EU without a deal [on 29 March] unless something else is agreed,” adding: “The government has always been clear that any extra capacity that is not used can be sold back to the market.”

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