Rosyth ferry link can ease Brexit lorry queue ‘shambles’ says MP

Fife port is ‘viable’ alternative

Douglas Chapman’s comments came after reports around 7,000 lorries could be forced to queue in Kent when the UK leaves the European Union at the end of the year. Chancellor of the Duchy, Michael Gove, announced this as he raised the possibility of a ‘border’ around Kent.

Mr Chapman, SNP MP for Dunfermline, said Scotland can avoid this by utlising  Scottish routes such as Rosyth to Belgium.

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He said: “The shambles that is upon us at the Kent ‘border’ is not surprising given that the UK Government was making these preparations this time last year and a lack of preparedness for Brexit has now become the norm.

“Within the last week I have heard again that the level of uncertainty on moving goods is at unacceptable levels which places a huge burden on companies to find solutions to moving finished goods for exports or importing key components.

“In Scotland, we can avoid this situation though by having alternative routes into Europe instead of everything piling into Kent and the South-East ports.”

Operating as the only direct ferry route between Scotland and Europe, the ferry link between Rosyth and Zeebrugge, Belgium was freight-only and was operated by DFDS.

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The service replaced a passenger and freight service run initially by Superfast Ferries between 2002 and 2008, and then by Norfolkline until 2010. The  overnight services had a crossing time of 17 hours.

The service as a whole was terminated in 2018 following a fire aboard one of the ships.

However, Mr Chapman has been working for years on re-instating the service and is keen to build upon Scottish-European ties.

He added:  “We have entrepreneurs who have expressed an interest in making this route from Rosyth work for tourists and freight.

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“Some may be familiar with the previous passenger service that was very successful before it was discontinued. It not only provided people an alternative to visit Europe, but also an easy channel for tourists to explore Scotland without having to fly here.

“If the pandemic has taught us anything it should be that no idea should be off the table to reinvigorate our economy and re-establishing this connection from the heart of Scotland into the heart of Europe is a hugely viable and potentially profitable opportunity.”

Hannah Brown , Local Democracy Reporting Service

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