Wednesday, February 10, 2010

New Ferry Terminal At Dover Will Need Funds So Bids For Port Invited

400 Million Pound Development Prompts Search for Finance
Shipping News Feature

UK – Despite sensational headlines in various tabloids the Port of Dover has not been sold to the French – yet. A statement issued by the Dover Harbour Board however makes it abundantly plain that to develop the proposed freight and passenger facilities in the Western Dock a restructuring of the ports finances is essential and the transfer scheme proposed outlines that power will be transferred to a new company, Port of Dover Limited who published Articles of Association today.

Basically Dover Harbour Board will cease to exist and all power and assets will pass to the new company. Who funds that company is the, considerably more than, six million dollar question. In a statement the Dover Harbour Board said that a change of ownership would:

"Guarantee the port's ability to meet the needs of its customers over the long term and securing the position of the Port of Dover as a key international gateway in the light of forecast growth in RoRo traffic volumes."

The management are insistent that only a sell off will produce the investment level required to develop the port to a standard which the current board believe is required. Last year the Treasury completed a study of operating efficiency within UK ports and, according to the Harbour Board, Dover was singled out as the most advanced Trust Port in relation to analysis and planning.

This week the Board have formally submitted a request to the Secretary of State for Transport for the authority to proceed with the sell off plans. Rumours that the main bidder is the Nord-pas-de-Calais have yet to be confirmed but feelings in the UK are running high after what was seen as another iconic name sell off with the acquisition of confectioners Cadbury by the Kraft Corporation and today’s news that this will cost British jobs.