IT’S hoped that a Scottish-based operator will reinstate the Rosyth to Zeebrugge ferry link. 

The company is yet to reveal its hand but Dunfermline and West Fife MP Douglas Chapman said the operator was keen to move forward with discussions. 

Mr Chapman met the Scottish Government’s Connectivity Minister, Paul Wheelhouse, last week to see what progress had been made with the new Rosyth Euroferry. 

The MP discovered that two state aid grants could help to assist with costs to get the ferry link in place. 

One would fund port infrastructure while the other could be used for entirely new routes. 

Mr Chapman said: “Discussions continue with a Scottish-based operator and I remain positive that they will be able to make an announcement soon.

“However, while they work on the detail around the service, there are some things that are commercially sensitive.

“Further progress is being made and while we want the new ferry service to stand on its own feet and be sustainable, through the Scottish Government we have uncovered some state aid grants which may assist the ferry service in the early stages of its development.”

The Freight Facilities Grant (FFG) can assist with costs associated with moving freight by rail or water by funding port infrastructure.

Port of Rosyth received £10 million under this scheme when the original ferry service first launched. Forth Ports have inferred to Transport Scotland that they would need to spend around £2-3 million on port infrastructure to support a new service. 

The Waterborne Freight Grant (WFG) could assist with costs associated with running waterborne freight transport but eligibility dependent on proven long-term economic viability and is only available for new routes.

DFDS ran ferry services from 2002 but stopped carrying passengers in 2010 when it became a freight-only service. 

A fire on board the Finlandia Seaways ship on April 16, 2018, hastened the end of the Rosyth to Zeebrugge freight service when DFDS could not find a replacement ship and “lost all hope” of turning around losses.

Mr Chapman added: “The potential new operator is looking at a new route.

“There are discussions ongoing with the Continent but it will be a well-connected port, and good for businesses. 

“It’s really, really positive at the moment. I do not know when the company will reveal their hand but everything is going in the right direction. 

“There are a few other operators that are interested but are waiting for more clarity on Brexit. But the Scottish operator is keen to move on.”