UK prime minister May’s cabinet is drawing up plans to ration space on ferries carrying vital supplies to Britain, amidst preparations for a no-deal Brexit that could leave supermarkets devoid of some food stuffs. Transport Secretary Grayling has warned the cabinet that trade on the key Dover-Calais route could be cut by up to 87 per cent in the event of a disorderly exit, as checks and customs controls will then be implemented in France.
The pro-Brexit Mr Grayling has written to colleagues seeking approval for the chartering of ships, or space on ships, to operate on alternative routes, bypassing likely blockages in the Strait of Dover. He has also requested cabinet approval to increase the capacity at three ports with trade links with the EU but with considerably longer journey times: Ramsgate, Sheerness and Immingham.
In any event there would be a sharp reduction in ferry traffic between the UK and the EU, meaning that vital industrial components and medicines would be vying with salads for scarce space in trucks and on ships.
Eurosceptic Conservatives believe May will unveil detailed contingency planning - including the emergency ferry services - if she loses next week’s vote, as part of a move to step up pressure on MPs to change their minds in a second vote.
Michael Gove, the pro-Brexit environment secretary in charge of food supplies, said on Sunday of a no-deal exit: “While it’s not as bad as some have argued, it is economically, clearly, going to cause hurt.”