Scotland to Netherlands ferries delayed until April 2020, reports say

The old Superfast ferry which used to sail between Rosyth and Zeebrugge.
The old Superfast ferry which used to sail between Rosyth and Zeebrugge.
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Plans for ferries to the Netherlands from Rosyth have reportedly been delayed until April after the proposals were deemed “too ambitious”.

Scottish shipping firm, TEC-Farragon, has postponed the plans for passenger ferries to Groningen which were due to launch at the end of October, according to Dutch media.

The head of the firm, David Kellas, was ill earlier this week which RTV Noord said has also impacted the decision to delay.

Mr Kellas refused to comment on the delay when approached by this newspaper, however his colleague Gerrit Faber spoke to Dutch media and said the plans are "simply not feasible".

Eemshaven, the port for the route, is still lacking a customs office and sufficient parking provision for the ferry, unlike Rosyth which does not face the same obstacles due to existing infrastructure.

Mr Faber said: “A first departure in October was just a bit too ambitious. A few things still need to be built in Eemshaven.

“We just don't have a ready-made terminal here like in Rosyth. That is why we have moved everything to the new date of April next year."

He added: "[Mr Kellas] was admitted to the hospital on Monday. His partner is in charge of things, but he wants to consult with David before any further steps are taken.

“This has no consequences for the project itself. So we have to take a step ahead when it comes to planning."

Initially TEC-Farragon had stated the planned launch date was due to be the end of October.

However, this newspaper understands the company was in discussions with the Scottish Government over securing a loan of £35-40 million.

Discussions were ongoing as recently as Friday 23 August, but had hit obstacles with the government keen to stress the need for the ferry service to be delivered commercially.

However, the government said they were unaware of any delays to the planned service.

In a statement, Transport Scotland said: "We’ve had extensive engagement with TEC Farragon/Offshore with regard to its proposal for a ferry service from Rosyth to Holland.

“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."