HOPES for the return of a ferry link are sailing on after a delegation from a French Port and ferry officials visited Rosyth.

Talks on Project Brave – the initiative working towards the reinstatement of a direct service from West Fife to Europe – docked in West Fife this week.

The visit follows a trip to Dunkirk last month.

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Local MP Douglas Chapman and Derek Sloan, CEO of Ptarmigan Shipping, hosted the delegation from the port of Dunkirk and ferry company DFDS at the port of Rosyth.

Representatives included DFDS Vice President, Kasper Moos and their Head of Customer Care in the UK, Pete Ackerman, alongside the Chief Commercial Officer, Daniel Deschodt, the Chair of the Executive Board, Maurice Georges, and Development Manager, Yvan Gomel from the Grand Port Maritime de Dunkerque.

They were given a tour of the port's facilities to see the maritime potential for themselves.

Also involved in the discusssions were representatives from the UK Government Border Force team, Visit Scotland, Fife Council, Forth Ports, Scottish Development International and Transport Scotland were also joined by the French Consul General based in Edinburgh, Monseiur Stephane Pailler.

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Mr Chapman said the project was "truly" gathering momentum.

"We were delighted to return the hospitality to our Dunkirk colleagues this time in Scotland after a successful visit to their port in October," he said.

"Starting our tour at Transport Scotland’s Headquarters at South Queensferry, we continued discussions from our recent Dunkirk trip and the potential of the new Greenport at Rosyth, before travelling to Grangemouth to view facilities and presentations from DFDS and Transport Scotland.

"Finally, we finished at Rosyth to discuss the role of Visit Scotland and the sustainable tourism potential, overcoming current barriers faced through border control issues and important next steps with all the relevant stakeholders."

Mr Sloan added: “It seems apt to host our French counterparts and DFDS at Rosyth during International Trade Week given the enormous potential for freight access to Europe direct from Scotland once we have this route up and running again.

"Now we are aiming for Spring 2024, the opportunity for tourists from Scotland and the wider continent to reduce their carbon footprint with travel by sea to and from mainland Europe rather than by road, rail of air will be hugely significant.

"The economic, environmental and connectivity benefits of Project Brave could be transformational for Scotland, and we’re delighted our French counterparts agree.”

The route from Rosyth was last open to freight in 2018 when it was operated by DFDS but a fire on board its ship hastened the end as the company could not find a replacement and “lost all hope” of turning around losses.

The last passenger carrying ferry was in 2010, eight years after sailings first began.