FRESH talks to re-establish a passenger and freight ferry service between Rosyth and Europe have taken place this week.

Dunfermline and West Fife MP Douglas Chapman visited the Port of Zeebrugge’s management team during a visit to the Netherlands and Belgium to ask how best they could re-establish a direct link.

He was encouraged by the progress made and is still hopeful of a a breakthrough.

“There were lots of ideas put on the table and they appear keen to help,” said Mr Chapman.

“We have a team of people here at home who I think can push the project forward and talks with them will continue into the coming weeks and months. 

“What is clear is that there are lots of people out there who would love to see a ferry service re-established and our hard work to deliver for them has already begun.” 

The latest meeting follows talks in May when Mr Chapman met the General Representative of the Government of Flanders, Nic Van der Marliere, to discuss the possibility of a new link.

Back then, he said he believed Brexit could actually enhance the prospects of the route being profitable – DFDS pulled out last month after it “lost all hope” of turning round losses. 

He had told the Press: “Due to the confusion and potential delays at English ports such as Dover as a result of Brexit, these circumstances may become a driver for more seaborne traffic from Scotland as no Scottish exporter wants their goods sitting in a customs queue on the south coast. 

“Similarly, for tourists, no-one wants to start their holiday waiting in the equivalent of bank holiday-style traffic jams as they try to get onto a ferry in Hull or Folkestone.” 

A fire on board the Finlandia Seaways ship on April 16 hastened the end of the Rosyth to Zeebrugge freight ferry service run by DFDS. It said it was unable to find a replacement and had “lost all hope” of turning round losses. 

The Rosyth ferry has been operating since 2002, initially by Superfast Ferries and then Norfolkline, but stopped carrying passengers in 2010 when it became a freight-only service.

During this week’s three-day trip, Mr Chapman also attended the Carnegie Peace-building Conference at the Peace Palace in the Hague where a European and American audience considered the contribution Dunfermline’s Andrew Carnegie had made to the modern peace-building agenda.

“Due to our Andrew Carnegie links, the opportunities for Dunfermline to be at the heart of peace-building across the world are huge and this conference, which was well supported by members of the Dunfermline-based Carnegie Trusts, helped put us on the map,” he added.