Rosyth freight ferry service reduced

Published: 22 Apr 2011 08:257 comments

THE new freight ferry service between Rosyth and Zeebrugge is set to be cut back - just four months after it was launched.

THE new freight ferry service between Rosyth and Zeebrugge is to be cut back - just four months after it was launched.

The DFDS Seaways service currently makes four sailings a week but that is being reduced to just three.

The "new enhanced freight service" was introduced on 5th January but has already run into stormy seas.

The reduction in service was revealed in the Press (today) and has now been confirmed coming into effect on 2nd May.

DFDS route director Allan Hull said the change reflected a lower than expected demand for the service.

"It is unfortunate that we are not able to maintain the capacity we had hoped to operate on the route.

"In the current climate of escalating fuel prices this meant we had no choice but to reduce the frequency of sailings."

Mr Huil stressed there was no reduction in the company's commitment to the service and added, "We also are retaining both vessels on the route which will mean that frequency of sailings can be easily increased should the position change in the future.

"We appreciate all the backing we have had from the haulage industry, port authorities and the Fife community and hope that they both understand our position on this decision and that we will continue to receive their valuable support."

It is another setback for hopes to establish Rosyth as a successful ferry port after the loss of the Superfast service launched amid great scenes of celebration in May 2002.

Superfast pulled out of the route and was eventually replaced by Norfolkline which was then taken over by DFDS.

After initially keeping the passenger side of the service DFDS decided to concentrate on freight only - a major blow to Fife's tourism market.

The looming cut to the freight service came as a shock to Fife politicians and the Scottish Government also appears to have been in the dark.

Fife Council's chair of enterprise, environment and transportation, Tony Martin, knew nothing about it until informed by the Press and said, "It's deeply disappointing.

"What we've been told up to now is that the service was doing well especially on incoming traffic.

"There was no indication that this cut was going to be brought in.

"The undertaking they gave us was that as a freight route it would be successful. I

"I imagine the high cost of fuel will have been a factor in them coming to this decision."

Rosyth SNP councillor Douglas Chapman said, "This move is in totally the opposite direction from what Rosyth and Scotland needs.

"I've not been impressed with DFDS since they took over the route from Norfolkline and here is another reason for that.

"Hauliers need to have security in knowing when a service is going to be leaving and arriving at Rosyth or else they will use alternative routes.

"This is not good news at all for Rosyth."

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  • Smarmy Git
    Unregistered User
    Apr 22, 09:34
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    Why is this not a surprise?

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  • patriot
    Unregistered User
    Apr 27, 10:06
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    If DFDS ran one single larger ship, and carried both freight and passengers, they would make a success of the route.

    The Scottish Viking was too small as seasonal peaks in demand for passengers and freight need to be accomodated, so one large ship say with 3000 lane meters and accomodation for up to 600 passengers would fit the bill.

    The Samsung Zeus palace is currently up for sale by Grimaldi shipping.

    It has 2000 lane meters and has accomodation for up to 500 overnight passengers.

    Another similar sized ship which will be available soon is the Norman Leader, currently nearing completion at the Singapore Marine Technologies Shipyard.

    The Scottish Government could buy the Zeus Palace or Norman Leader and lease it to DFDS.

    Or another more enthusiastic operator.

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  • paraletic
    Unregistered User
    Apr 27, 11:37
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    DFDS fares are far to high and it is cheaper going to Newcastle for passengers.

    as for the freight who really cares.

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  • Brianclark
    8 posts
    Apr 27, 13:51
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    If we still had a passenger Ferry it would be full from now until at least September as was Superfast ! .............The sooner we get one back the better and remove the freight License from DFDS !

    Brian Clark in Carnock

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  • paraletic
    Unregistered User
    Apr 28, 14:42
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    DFDS pulled out because it was running at a Huge loss ...

    the passenger ferry was only half full for most of the summer periods ,, and empty in the Winter

    and it's also cheaper travelling down to Newcastle and getting the ferry there.

    done it 3 times,

    Nobody is going to take on this route..... without making a profit !!!!!!!

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  • patriot
    Unregistered User
    Apr 28, 19:34
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    DFDS marketed the route poorly, this may have been due to their having a passenger ferry already in existence from Newcastle to Ijmuiden when they took over Norfolkline.

    They would not want to compete against themselves.

    Where the Rosyth ferry was so useful is that you could avoid driving down the nightmarish A1 to North Shields. This stretch of road is mainly single carriage way and has a high accident rate.

    If you do have to drive down the A1 to Newcastle you may as well carry on down the A1(M)to Hull and get the cheaper and better P&O ferries to either Amsterdam or Zeebrugge.

    I suppose we will have to wait until DFDS's contract expires before there is any chance of a new operator running the route with some enthusiasm and marketing effort.

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  • patriot
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    May 5, 13:21
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    A French english language newspaper "The Connexion" carried a story last year about North Sea ferry traffic and had this to say about the Rosyth-Zeebrugge ferry:

    "While the DFDS Zeebrugge-Rosyth link would seem a perfect match for the Euro initiative – to stop lorries travelling the length of Britain – the firm has not applied for any subsidy and is switching to a freight-only operation. The passenger service will end on December 15, but DFDS will increase freight sailings from each port from three to four a week.

    A DFDS spokesman said passenger numbers outside summer had not been high enough to continue the service and it was much more expensive to operate than a freight service, with extra staff, marketing and facilities."

    The part about not applying for a subsidy seems to indicate that DFDS did not want to make a success of the passenger service from day one..

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