£35 million cash injection to keep vital freight routes into and out of the UK moving

Tue 19 May 2020
Posted by: William Barns-Graham
Trade News

cairnyan port

The government has announced a multi-million-pound injection of cash to keep vital freight ferry and rail routes into and out of the UK running smoothly.

Six transport operators will share the £35 million subsidy to ensure there is no disruption to the flow of critical goods due to a lack of capacity. These operators include P&O Ferries, Eurotunnel, DFDS, Seatruck, Brittany Ferries and Stena Line.

The announcement follows a deal agreed between the UK, Ireland and France in April to keep key freight routes open between Europe and the UK.

Essential goods

Kevin Shakespeare, director of stakeholder engagement at the Institute of Export & International Trade, told the Daily Update (19 May) the funding will “protect freight traffic including supplies of essential goods such as food and medicines.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said government is “committed to do whatever it takes to minimise the disruption caused by COVID-19”.

Priority routes

The government intends to protect the flow of goods in 16 priority ferry routes, which it has designated the title “Public Service Obligations Routes”.

The fresh injection of £35m state aid will help to ensure the following routes continue to operate smoothly:





Europoort, Hull-Rotterdam

Europoort, Hull-Zeebrugge



Harwich-Hoek van Holland









However, the Department of Transport has indicated that the actual amounts paid to each operator “will depend on the actual amount of capacity required and sold in each week”.

Lifeline services

The Belfast Telegraph also reports flights between Britain and Northern Ireland will continue to operate with the support of £5.7m funding from the UK government and Northern Ireland Executive.

The report will ensure “lifeline services” continue to fly between Britain and Northern Ireland, despite the collapse in demand caused by the pandemic.