In Transport Questions this week I questioned the UK Government’s ability to deliver a post-Brexit strategy for Welsh ports following this week’s Seaborne freight fiasco.
Labour has called on Transport Secretary Chris Grayling to resign after the Department for Transport awarded Seaborne Freight a £14million contract to increase shipping capacity in the event of a no deal Brexit; despite the company having no ships, employees, working website or a sailing schedule.
Speaking in Transport Questions, I said “Welsh Ports, including Newport, have experienced strong growth and investment over recent years, contributing £1.4 billion to the UK economy. In a week in which we’ve witnessed the Government’s mishandling & fiasco of Seaborne Freight, just weeks away from Brexit day, what confidence can we have that Transport Ministers are taking serious steps to avoid jeopardising the success of our Welsh ports?”
In response, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State Nusrat Ghani said the Government was in communication with port operators including ABP, and that Ministers would ensure ports were able to continue to deliver goods and services to and from the EU after Brexit.
The Seaborne Freight fiasco underlines the inadequacy of the Conservative Government’s preparations for a ‘no deal’ scenario. The Government’s chaotic approach to our ports and maritime sector, which is so important to the national and local economy, is alarming.