Search for new Ramsgate cross-Channel ferry operator

Port of Ramsgate The port has been without a cross-Channel service since April

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Consultants have been brought in to find a new ferry operator for the Port of Ramsgate in Kent.

The port has been without a cross-Channel service since TransEuropa Ferries went into administration in April.

The Belgian firm owed Thanet District Council £3.4m.

Labour councillor Alan Poole said the authority had made contact with three operators and was confident an operator would be found "very soon".

However, Green councillor Ian Driver said he believed the port's commercial days were now over.

"Dover Harbour is beginning a £400m refurbishment of its infrastructure and it's also going to be developing a second ferry terminal," he said.

"Who in their right mind would think that Ramsgate could compete against what will become in the next few years one of the biggest ferry terminals in Europe?"

Council leaders said they believed a cross-Channel operator would bring jobs to the area.

TransEuropa had run passenger and freight services between Ramsgate and Ostend for 15 years.

The local authority said it would try to recover the £3.4m debt, but would have to raid its reserves, including taking £1m from its housing benefit subsidy.

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