A SCOTTISH shipping company is planning to run ferries between Rosyth and the Netherlands.

Plans from TEC Offshore are believed to be at an “advanced” stage.

With the prospect of long queues of lorries and cars at Dover becoming more likely due to Brexit approaching, the company wants a direct ferry connecting with Europe.

TEC Offshore, based in Perthshire, is the firm behind the plan – which would see freight and passengers carried on daily ferries between Rosyth and Eemshaven, a fast-growing port in the Groningen area of the north of the Netherlands which has good road links to Germany, central Europe, Scandinavia, and even Italy and the Balkans.

David Kellas, joint managing director of TEC Offshore, said: "Negotiations are at an advanced stage with both ports and we are speaking with the Scottish Government.

"Scotland has been wholly reliant on freight and passengers coming in through Southern ports and we have absolutely suitable ports on the East coast of Scotland so why should we not utilise them?

"We have been looking at this for some time, and clearly Brexit is a catalyst, but we at TEC Offshore believe absolutely that Scotland requires a ferry service carrying freight and passengers between the continent and our East coast."

The TEC Offshore group, which has nearly 50 years experience in marine services, has already secured the ships to form the ferry service, and the expertise to sail them.

The company is in talks with the two ports and the Scottish Government over the arrangements for the service, which would be the first to transport passengers directly between Scotland and the continent in almost a decade.

The freight-only route between Rosyth and Zeebrugge in Belgium closed last year and work has been carried out in recent months to try to reinstate it.

The Scottish company feels the new service could be up and running as early as the end of October and would enable Scottish freight lorries, in particular, to avoid the worst effects of Brexit by sailing direct to the Continent.

Timber and food and drink exports would be helped greatly by direct links to Europe with tourists expected to use the service too.

Councillor Altany Craik, convener of the economy, tourism, strategic planning and transportation committee at Fife Council, said: "It's something that we would like to see back in place.

"It would be good for business, good for Fife and good for Scotland.

Rosyth councillor Andrew Verrecchia said: "If it comes to fruition it will be very good.

"But I remember the last service was quite prohibitive cost-wise and it was much cheaper to jump on a plane.

"So I certainly hope it would be accessible for more but I would certainly welcome anything bringing passenger footfall and jobs to Rosyth."

A Transport Scotland spokesperson said: "We’ve had extensive engagement with TEC Farragon/Offshore with regard to its proposal for a ferry service from Rosyth to Holland, including as recently as Friday.

"We have provided the company with information and assistance on potential funding mechanisms, including expert advice from colleagues in the Scottish Investment Bank (SIB).

"This reflects our desire to see new direct ferry services linking Scotland to Europe, however, any new ferry service will have to be delivered on a commercial basis.

"We have told the company we are happy to continue to engage and provide advice on its business plan with the assistance of Scottish Enterprise and the SIB. That was reiterated again today (Friday)."