REINSTATING a direct ferry service from Rosyth is "needed more than ever" as talks gather pace.

Dunfermline and West Fife MP Douglas Chapman has campaigned for the re-establishment of a passenger and freight ferry service to Europe from the port for several years.

He has met key parties involved in the proposals recently and hosted a delegation from the Port of Zeebrugge this week.

"There’s an enormous and growing interest in reinstating the ferry link between Rosyth and Europe," the SNP MP stated.

"I’ve been campaigning for a long time to see a freight and passenger service operational again and, over the past few months, the pace of developments has picked up.

“Recently, I’ve been in discussions with key stakeholders – including the Secretary of State for Scotland, our Scottish Government and representatives from Forth Ports and the Port of Zeebrugge. Only this week, I hosted a delegation from Zeebrugge and discussions are also at a crucial stage with investors and potential operators.

"Scottish businessman and former CEO of Norfolk Line, Derek Sloan, has been developing a strong business case for a sustainable ferry service and has engaged many of the industry stakeholders.

"While there are significant challenges that need to be resolved before further progress can be made, confidential discussions are continuing between the key players, and I sense every party is approaching these talks positively.

“Re-establishing a direct ferry service from Rosyth is needed more than ever as we try to take more lorry miles off the road and move to a net-zero economy, and to help us deal with the disaster area for exports and supply chain resilience as a result of Brexit. Tourism could be a big winner too as they pick up the pieces of the industry post-COVID.

"I’m working hard to ensure that any barriers are overcome and to get Scotland’s European ferry link reinstated as soon as possible.

"With a fair wind, we can do it.”

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

Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath MP Neale Hanvey is calling on the Greens to deliver on the party's election pledge to re-establish the direct ferry link.

Lorna Slater, Greens co-leader, stated previously: “Scotland’s journey back to Europe starts at this election, and the Scottish Greens want to see new links established from places like Rosyth, which has the advantage of already having infrastructure in place.”

Mr Hanvey and his Alba colleague, Kenny MacAskill, have both urged the Greens to "get real" about setting up the link and have launched a discussion paper on the maritime opportunities for Scotland.

The Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath MP said that there had "never been a better time" for Scotland to "develop its own direct ferry routes to the European mainland starting with the re-opening of the Rosyth ferry port which provided Scotland’s only direct ferry link to Zeebrugge before it closed in 2010" and added that the "port infrastructure already exists and even signage still exists on the road network for it".

“What is required is an international joint venture with the Port of Amsterdam and/or Port of Zeebrugge. The optimal provision would be two services, benefitting both passengers and businesses.

"You could have two ferries carrying both passengers and freight to Amsterdam and one or two roll-on, roll off freight ferries to Zeebrugge. All possible through a simple tendering process."