Ramsgate Port will not be ready to handle the extra ferries if the UK leaves the European Union (EU) without a deal, according to Thanet district councillor Beverly Martin.

Thanet Council currently owns Ramsgate Port, which stopped operating regular ferry services in 2013.

Despite owning no ships, Seaborne Freight secured a £13.8m contract from the UK Government to provide freight services between Ramsgate and Ostend if a no-deal Brexit occurs.

However, the harbour is not equipped with the necessary capacity to handle ferry traffic after 29 March, when the UK is due to leave, said Conservative councillor Martin.

The UK Department for Transport previously said that works are underway to make the harbour ready for Brexit.

Along with Seaborne Freight, DFDS and Brittany Ferries were selected to provide services at Dover, England, as part of contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit.

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“I don’t see how, with the state of the harbour and the port and the number of repairs, that are needed that it could be ready.”

The combined value of the three contracts is £103m.

Martin was quoted by BBC as saying: “From local knowledge, there is terrific concern that we cannot possibly be ready.

“There isn’t the width or the breadth of the berths that is needed to carry large ships.

“I don’t see how, with the state of the harbour and the port and the number of repairs that are needed that it could be ready.”

Martin further added that the council had not received communication on preparing Ramsgate for additional ferry services.

However, the UK Department for Transport refuted Martin’s allegations, claiming that it has held discussions with Thanet District Council during the past couple of years.