To an audience of travel and tourism professionals from around the UK, Ramsgate Ferry Chairman Dr Bill Moses gave an authoritative account of the business case behind reviving a cross-channel ferry service from Ramsgate.
He outlined the sharp growth in cross-channel passenger and freight traffic since the first Ro-Ro service in 1953 and emphasised that following the cessation of passenger ferry services from Sheerness, Dartford, Ramsgate and Folkestone, Dover is now the only port in Kent providing a passenger ferry link to the continent.
He questioned whether Thanet District Council, the owners and managers of the Port of Ramsgate, could continue to sustain large trading losses. Any further investment of public funds into a failing management structure would surely not be in the best interests of tax-payers.
Dr Moses outlined a compelling vision for the commercial port which projected a positive economic benefit of £6 million a year, providing a much needed boost to local business as well as addressing some key social issues such as Thanet youth unemployment, currently the highest in South East England.
Previous presentations at ports in France and Belgium had received uniformly encouraging support from the public authorities there which Dr Moses ascribed to a clearer commercial focus and better quality port management.
The 15th Ramsgate Ferry Roadshow is already booked for Ostend. With strong interest from the media, Dr Moses is currently considering options for a television documentary examining the many recent controversies at the Port of Ramsgate and the benefits that a passenger ferry service could bring.