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UK considers no-deal Brexit supply trains for medicines

The Eurotunnel shuttle conveys road vehicles by rail through the Channel | Philippe Huguen/AFP via Getty Images

UK considers no-deal Brexit supply trains for medicines

Government contract sought advice on how to bring in necessary supplies in a cliff-edge scenario.

By and

4/3/19, 3:48 PM CET

Updated 4/4/19, 6:42 AM CET

LONDON — The U.K. government sought advice on a plan to procure cross-Channel train services to deliver vital supplies such as medicines in the event of a no-deal Brexit, a Department for Transport contract shows.

Chris Grayling’s department in January hired an external engineering consultant to give “technical expertise on rail freight operations” as it looked at ways of alleviating pressure on ports caused by no-deal disruption.

The DfT has already spent more than £100 million procuring additional cross-Channel ferry sailings to bring in supplies away from the main pinch-point at Dover.

While no government contracts were eventually awarded to bring in goods by train, and there are no active plans to do so, government officials said that in a no-deal situation, freight capacity would continue to be monitored and all options could come under consideration again.

Any congestion in the event of no-deal is expected to be concentrated around the Dover Strait entry points to the U.K. and continental Europe, so using the Channel Tunnel to move freight may not be a viable option, officials say. But the government is not ruling out reactivating the plan if, in a no-deal scenario, it is viewed as likely to help.

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