Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced 8 firms have been successfully appointed to the freight procurement framework and will now be able to bid to bring vital medicines into the UK after Brexit on 31 October.
The framework provides a list of freight operators who could transport critical goods like medicines after 31 October. The framework will be in place for the next 4 years and will help speed up procurement processes.
A competition will be launched today (20 September 2019) allowing operators on the framework to bid for the first freight capacity contracts for 31 October – equivalent to thousands of HGVs per week – to ensure the UK is fully able to maintain the smooth flow of vital goods once we leave the EU.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Preparations to leave the EU on the 31 October are continuing at pace and we will do whatever it takes to ensure the flow of life-saving medicines into the UK.
“This framework guarantees long-term national resilience and I’m confident the combined expertise of these high quality and experienced firms appointed to the framework will ensure we are ready for Brexit day and beyond.”
The 8 companies signed up to the framework include ferry operators, Brittany Ferries, DFDS A/S, Irish Ferries, P&O Ferries, Seatruck and Stena, as well as operators from the aviation and rail industries Air Charter Services and Eurotunnel.
Operators that have joined the framework will now be able to bid for freight capacity contracts for Brexit and beyond, as and when they are needed over a 4 year period. Each bid was marked against strict criteria, including proven capability to manage high quality projects and experience in freight operation.
By having the firms signed up to the framework, the government has guaranteed a much faster and more efficient procurement process for the next 4 years, while procuring the framework has not yet committed the government to spending any taxpayers’ money.
To support the flow of lifesaving medicines into the UK, the competitions will focus on ports and terminals away from areas forecast as most likely for potential disruption, should it occur. Therefore the freight terminals of Dover, Calais, Dunkirk, Boulogne-sur-Mer, Folkestone, Coquelles and Barking are not included. The risk and impact of disruption at these ports and terminals caused by a potential lack of trader readiness could affect the flow of vital goods.
By choosing ports and terminals that have the least likelihood of disruption, the government is working in the interest of both operators and the wider public.
The operators added to the framework are:
- Air Charter Services Ltd
- Brittany Ferries
- DFDS A/S
- Irish Ferries Ltd
- P&O Ferries Division Holdings Ltd
- Seatruck Ferries Ltd
- The Channel Tunnel Group Ltd (Eurotunnel)
- Stena Line Ltd