Govt at risk of repeating Seaborne Freight disaster

 

Influential MPs have warned the UK could be set for another Seaborne Freight disaster as the nation gears up for the delayed  Brexit date of 31 October.

The Public Accounts Committee's (PAC) latest analysis states: 'Momentum appears to have slowed in Whitehall, with preparations for the UK leaving the EU on 31 October not happening quickly enough.'

”Local

After the spring deadline for Brexit was missed the Department for Transport (DfT) 'stood down' its immediate arrangements for leaving the EU and is reviewing the 'sensible course to take to step those up again'.

The Cabinet Office told MPs that a decision on ferry procurement of extra capacity for the short English channel short crossings in the event of a no deal Brexit needs to be made imminently.

This capacity could be essential to shipping key goods including medicines across to Britain in the event of major disruption caused by a no deal Brexit.

The PAC said it remains 'concerned that departments’ preparations are being left too late.

'The window for decision-making for any departure on 31 October is short and key deadlines for decisions are passing every day.'

As the DfT geared up for previous 29 March Brexit date, it made serious errors in its procurement of extra freight capacity.

This resulted in the Seaborne Freight scandal - procuring services from a clearly under-prepared company, albeit on a pay-per-use basis, which led to massive compensation payouts to other firms due to the botched procurement.

The PAC put the wasted cost of the exercise at around £85m though some MPs argue the true price is over £100m.

'With little lead time left the Department for Transport undertook a rushed and risky procurement of additional ferry capacity which opened it to a court challenge from Eurotunnel, which had been excluded from the procurement, and which culminated in an out-of-court settlement costing £33m,' the PAC said.

'Coupled with the £51.4m cost of cancelling the contracts with the ferry operators, the total cost of this procurement to the taxpayer stands at around £85m.'

History repeats itself: (first time was farce second time would be tragedy)

'There is a real risk that the short time left before 31 October will force the Department into further high-risk procurements, which it wants to avoid. Given the lead time needed to put ferry capacity in place, which the Department says can take a minimum of three months, any new procurement process would need to begin very soon,' the PAC said.

'Departments appear to be waiting for clear instructions on what they should now plan for on Brexit. We acknowledge that without political certainty it is challenging but the government needs to inject direction into departments’ preparations for leaving the EU with a deal, without a deal or any delay as a matter of urgency.'

Although som action is being taken, the PAC revealed. This time around the Department for Health will oversee freight capacity for medicines, while the DfT is putting in place 'a freight capacity framework agreement that will provide government departments with the ability to secure freight capacity for our critical supply chains as and when required'.

This framework does not commit the Government to purchasing or reserving any freight capacity, but that it does provide options that can be drawn upon if needed, the Government said.

MPs also poured scorn on the DfT's claim that the £33m payout to Eurotunnel over the Seaborne Freight procurement would be used to secure extra capacity and pubic value.

'This appears little more than window dressing, as Eurotunnel has said that it would have committed at least £33m on these types of projects irrespective of the settlement.'

Register now for full access


Register just once to get unrestricted, real-time coverage of the issues and challenges facing UK transport and highways engineers.

Full website content includes the latest news, exclusive commentary from leading industry figures and detailed topical analysis of the highways, transportation, environment and place-shaping sectors. Use the link below to register your details for full, free access.

Already a registered? Login

 
comments powered by Disqus
 
 
highways jobs

Service Manager – Network Management

Somerset County Council
£46,122 per annum
A number of exciting permanent opportunities have arisen to drive forward further improvements to our traffic related services. Somerset
Recuriter: Somerset County Council

Principal Traffic Control Engineer

Somerset County Council
£33,799 to £37,849 per annum
A number of exciting permanent opportunities have arisen to drive forward further improvements to our traffic related services. Somerset
Recuriter: Somerset County Council

Assistant Engineer

Bedford Borough Council
£31,371 - £32,878 per annum
Bedford is growing at a fast pace and we are investing heavily in our highways infrastructure. Bedford, Bedfordshire
Recuriter: Bedford Borough Council

Senior Clerk of Works

Bedford Borough Council
£27,905 - £30,507 + market rate supplement £2,630 per annum
Bedford is growing at a fast pace and we are investing heavily in our highways infrastructure. Bedford, Bedfordshire
Recuriter: Bedford Borough Council

Senior Technician

Bedford Borough Council
£27,905 - £30,507 per annum
Bedford is growing at a fast pace and we are investing heavily in our highways infrastructure. Bedford, Bedfordshire
Recuriter: Bedford Borough Council

Engineering Technician

Bedford Borough Council
£24,313 - £26,999 per annum
Bedford is growing at a fast pace and we are investing heavily in our highways infrastructure. Bedford, Bedfordshire
Recuriter: Bedford Borough Council

Engineer – Multiple disciplines

Bedford Borough Council
£33,799 - £36,876 per annum
Bedford is growing at a fast pace and we are investing heavily in our highways infrastructure.  Bedford, Bedfordshire
Recuriter: Bedford Borough Council

Trainee Engineering Technician

Bedford Borough Council
£21,589 - £23,836 per annum
Bedford is growing at a fast pace and we are investing heavily in our highways infrastructure. Bedford, Bedfordshire
Recuriter: Bedford Borough Council

Senior Asset Engineer

Isle of Man Government
£47,064 - £54,805
The Isle of Man is a special place to live and work! Isle of Man (GB) (IM)
Recuriter: Isle of Man Government

Commercial Services Officer - Funerals

Brent Council
£33,291 - £35,724 p.a. inc. plus Standby Allowance
The post will be involved in all aspects of the funeral service Brent, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Brent Council

Transportation Planning Officer x2

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
Band F, SCP 26-31 (£29,636 – £33,799 per annum) (£15.36 - £17.52 per hour)
The post holders will be part of a team developing transport policy encompassing all modes of travel Sandwell, West Midlands
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Highway Asset Engineer

Lambeth Council
£38,403 pa rising in annual increments to £41,466 pa incl LW
Lambeth is a vibrant place with a diverse population and an exciting cultural scene. Lambeth, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Lambeth Council

Senior Traffic Engineer

East Riding of Yorkshire Council
£32.029 - £34.788 career grade
We need an enthusiastic and experienced traffic engineer to manage our Traffic Team. East Riding of Yorkshire
Recuriter: East Riding of Yorkshire Council

Senior Community Infrastructure Levy Administration Officer

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£32,643 - £44,373
The successful candidate will play a key role in ensuring Richmond and Wandsworth Councils mitigate the... London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Engineer (Structures and Tunnel)

Medway Council
£31,385 - £37,053
Exciting opportunity has arisen to work within the highways department in Medway Council... Rochester, Kent
Recuriter: Medway Council

Principal Information and Monitoring Officer

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£40,183-£47,274 (Grade PO5)
Opportunity has arisen within the Spatial and Transport Planning service for a team leader with demonstrable practical experience of... London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Senior Community Infrastructure Levy Administration Officer

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£32,643-£44,373 (Linked Grade PO2- PO4)
There has never been a more challenging – or rewarding – time to work for Richmond and Wandsworth.  London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Senior Engineer – Highways Development Service (HDS)

North Yorkshire County Council
£38,813 - £42,683 pa
We are looking for someone to join the Development Management Team in a new post. Northallerton, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Senior Development Management Engineer – Section 38

Warwickshire County Council
£37,849 - £39,782
Due to the nature of the role the ability to travel effectively throughout Warwickshire is essential. Warwick, Warwickshire
Recuriter: Warwickshire County Council

Partnerships & Activities Manager

London Borough of Bexley
£31,353 - £36,876
Currently seeking an experienced manager to work in the Parks and Open Spaces Team of Bexley Council’s Communities Department. Bexley (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Bexley