Rosyth ferry comes to rescue for Channel hauliers

SCOTLAND’S sole roll-on, roll-off ferry link to Europe has won extra traffic because of the Channel Tunnel delays, operator DFDS has told The Scotsman.
The roll-on roll-off ferry is mainly carrying extra fish . Picture: Ian RutherfordThe roll-on roll-off ferry is mainly carrying extra fish . Picture: Ian Rutherford
The roll-on roll-off ferry is mainly carrying extra fish . Picture: Ian Rutherford

The thrice-weekly Rosyth-Zeebrugge freight service, which mainly transports containers, has also been carrying lorries since the troubles in Calais escalated.

Route director Stein van Est said up to eight of the previously empty 12 lorry spaces aboard the ferry were now being filled, mainly with shipments of fish.

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The upturn in the past two weeks follows news that the ferry’s 120 spaces for containers had remained fully booked since before the Eurotunnel hold-ups worsened.

The Scottish Government said it was helping firms switch to alternative routes such as via Rosyth.

A spokeswoman said: “We are in contact with seafood exporters affected by the continuing disruption in Calais and investigating what practical support we can offer to help minimise the impact, such as helping the industry identify alternative routes to market or modes of transport.

“Transport Scotland has been in contact with DFDS, which is reporting an increase in self-drive users of the Rosyth-Zebrugge service and that there is still capacity (of up to a maximum of 12 per sailing) as well as options for unaccompanied freight to travel out on this service.

“Companies looking to explore these options should contact DFDS directly for further details.

“We have also spoken to P&O who operate a service from Tees-port, and again we would encourage the industry to contact them directly to discuss availability and arrangements for using this route as an alternative.

“However we have had initial feedback from some Scottish seafood exporters that Dover-Calais would remain their preferred route, which is why Scottish ministers continue to press the UK government to bring about a swift resolution to this on-going situation.”

The Freight Transport Association, which represents haulage firms, said the Rosyth link was not ideal as journeys were normally quicker via the tunnel, and there were only three sailings a week which could be affected by the weather.

The route was saved from closure last November.