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Monday 31 December 2018

Seaborne Freight - Tory Deal Stinks

While the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance is kicking off over Newcastle City Council spending all of £5,000 on increasing transparency, its ideological soul mates in the Tory Party are spraying a rather larger sum up the wall on provision for the possibility of a no-deal Brexit. But here the TPA is silent, showing that the idea it is sticking up for taxpayers is yet another pack of lies. But not everyone is silent about the Tory largesse.
Port of Ramsgate. Bit quiet at the moment

The no-deal preparation has included chartering ferry capacity to ease potential congestion at locations such as Dover and Calais. To no surprise at all, the two companies awarded most of this work are DFDS, which is Danish, and Brittany Ferries, which is French. But a third company, Seaborne Freight, has been awarded a £14 million contract to provide capacity at the Kent port of Ramsgate.

Problem is, Seaborne Freight has tangible assets of just £35,000. This will not even pay the deposit on a Ro-Ro ferry. Worse, Seaborne has never run a ferry service, and has so far been unable to identify one ship it intends to use in order to run one. Yet worse is that Ramsgate’s facilities impose a constraint on ship size which means very few vessels could dock there. And it seems none of those is available right now.
As the Guardian has reported, “Paul Messenger, a Conservative county councillor for Ramsgate, questioned whether the government had carried out sufficient checks on the firm, telling the BBC: ‘It has no ships and no trading history so how can due diligence be done? Why choose a company that never moved a single truck in their entire history and give them £14m? I don’t understand the logic of that.’” Quite.

Moreover, as Richard Littler has pointed out, “Seaborne shares a registered address with a law firm connected to a Mark Bamford. Mark Bamford is one of the biggest donors to the tories. Mark's brother channeled millions through an obscure company” [now confirmed it is NOT the same Mark Bamford]. On top of that, the award to Seaborne (and, indeed, DFDS and Brittany Ferries) has been made without any kind of open tendering process taking place. And it gets even worse.
If a deal is agreed with the EU in the meantime - or, indeed, if the Article 50 process is extended as a result of Theresa May’s deal being rejected by Parliament and no-deal being averted - Seaborne gets to keep some of that £14 million, WITHOUT HAVING TO ACTUALLY RUN A FERRY SERVICE. Have a think about that.

I kid you not: “The BBC understands that the three firms chosen are likely to retain a portion of their award even if their services are no longer needed, due to a deal being reached with Brussels … However, in that event, the government would then seek to sell the extra capacity back to the market”. But if a deal were to be reached, there would be no need for the extra capacity, which would therefore be worthless.
Whichever way you slice the Seaborne Freight deal, it stinks. If this deal had been done in a third world country, the right-leaning press would be crowing about incompetence and corruption. But as it’s Brexit Britain, today’s front pages have no mention of the story. At all.

Anyone would think the press is OK with that. I’ll just leave that one there.
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Anonymous said...

What's Messenger whingeing about?

£14 million?......Pfffftt......Peanuts compared to tory theft of billions stolen from the rest of the country outside the tiny south east Greed Belt. All of which helped turn London into the world's leading corrupt shit hole and murder capital of Britain.

Anyway, these "entrepreneurs" must be allowed to "create wealth" in their own way, including stealing from the "nanny state". All in the interests of "free trade". The tenured Oxbridge gang keep telling us so.

So lighten up, Messenger dude, and get your snout in the trough like all the other tory pigs. You know it makes spiv sense. Ask May's husband.

Neil said...

It's not the same Bamford apparently

If you want to see some background work on Seaborne here's a Facebook page from a Ramsgate group.


Anonymous said...

Since that tweet was made it's been shown that Mark Bamford the lawyer is not the same Mark Bamford of the JCB family.

mirandola said...

This country is getting more and more like the last days of the Soviet Union.

A tiny elite at the top spouting daft economic theories which have absolutely no relevance or advantage to the suffering masses below, and just waiting for the first iceberg to show up.

Anonymous said...

mirandola 11:37.

This country is nothing like the unlamented totalitarian Soviet Union.

On the other hand it IS beginning to bear a striking resemblance to Victorian Britain sans empire.

Now we have soup kitchens again (aka food banks) and everyone working the welt (aka zero hours "contracts") you can expect a return of workhouses and poor relief.

The place stinks of corruption and hypocrisy. Yapping like demented poodles, we have followed the USA into a sewer of sociopathic indifference and thieving oligarchy. Expect another diversionary war sometime in the next five years, perhaps sooner rather than later if homicidal maniacs in the Pentagon and NATO get their way, all of it promoted by far right propagandist media vomiting poisonous drivel into the ether.

You ain't seen nothin' yet, babe.

Burlington Bertie from Bow said...

Happy New Year, Anonymous!

Anonymous said...

Anthony Bamford is the owner of JCB. The registered address for JCB and Seaborne ship less company is the same. Anthony is the biggest donor to the Tory partyy.

His brother is Mark who is the Director of the Conservative Party Foundation.

Valleyman said...

The Mark Bamford at CJC is 20yrs or so YOUNGER than Mark Bamford of JCB..it really isn't difficult to find pictures of both to see the difference...although even a simple search of Companies House shows there Month & Year of Birth....I suggest you print a large retraction of this falsehood.

Before any second guesses there is no as yet clear connection between him and any member if the JCB family

Tim Fenton said...


Suggest you re-read paragraph 5 of the post.

It has already been pointed out that it is not the same Mark Bamford.

Unknown said...

Partially correct my friend, but JCB and Seaborne do not share an address and the Bamford who is connected to the Seaborne address works for an unrelated firm of solicitors and is not related.