A war of words has broken out between the Dover Harbour Board and the port’s three ferry operators over plans to sell off the port to a private investor.
Despite protests from various quarters, the Harbour Board has applied to the Government to sell the trust port, which has no shareholders and all the money is ploughed back into the port to help pay to redevelop it.
However, in a joint letter in March, the ferry operators P&O Ferries, SeaFrance and Norfolkline stated that the Harbour Board “was abusing their monopoly powers and misleading them.”
In the letter, the three ferry companies claim the £60mn they provided to pay for a second terminal at Dover is now earmarked to cover a pension fund deficit.
The companies said they had learned that the second terminal was “no longer an immediate priority due to the privatisation process and there would be no obligation on the new owner to build it.”
In response, the Harbour Board stated: “We were extremely surprised by the letter and disappointed that customers, with whom we are still in the process of holding private discussions in relation to negotiating a new price path for tariffs, would appear to have briefed the Press before we were aware of the letter.
“Moreover, many of the statements made are inaccurate or simply wrong.
Dover has operated as a trust port for more than 400 years.
More on this and other news in Sea Breezes Magazine - May 2010 Issue
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