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Louise Batchelor reports
"Hopefully a ferry service from Rosyth to continental Europe will be launched next year"
 real 28k

Louise Batchelor reports
"This is the first test of Scotland's direct ferry service to Europe"
 real 56k

Friday, 11 May, 2001, 07:44 GMT 08:44 UK
Euro ferry docks on the Forth
The superfast ferry at Rosyth
A funding package needs to be arranged for the ferry service
The Scottish public is getting its first glimpse of a new ferry on Friday, which could soon provide the country's first passenger and freight sea link to mainland Europe.

Greek company Superfast Ferries has docked a vessel in the Forth port of Rosyth, which it hopes will provide the service next year.

The company has been selected as the preferred operator for the service but a funding package has still to be agreed with the Scottish Executive.

A feasibility study by Scottish Enterprise concluded that a new service between Scotland and Europe was commercially viable.

Alan Burns of Forth Ports Authority
Mr Burns: Advance discussions
The study showed that most Scots would prefer to travel from a home port rather than the English port of Hull.

A steering group was then set up to evaluate business plans from interested operators.

The Greek-based company Superfast Ferries was chosen as the preferred operator of a new service linking Rosyth in Fife with a major port on the European mainland last September.

The aim is to have a daily ferry link for freight and passengers with a crossing time of around 16 hours to a port in Belgium, the Netherlands or France.

Jobs boost

It is estimated that such a service could create up to 1500 jobs and boost the long-term survival prospects of the Rosyth yard.

It is also believed the Superfast Ferries firm will transfer one of their fleet of roll-on, roll-off vessels to Scotland on a trial basis in the near future.

But as yet, the ferry company has still to agree a funding package for the service with the Scottish Executive and its economic development agencies.

Alan Burns of Forth Ports Authority said: "Today's visit will allow us to amass considerable technical information that we require to achieve that.

"Today also allows us to raise awareness of the project and where it currently stands and to hopefully advance our discussions with the Scottish Executive in terms of frieght facility grants."

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See also:

05 May 01 | Scotland
Euro ferry 'could create 1500 jobs'
30 Mar 01 | Scotland
Shipyard gets 75m contract boost
30 Jun 00 | Scotland
Jobs go in firm shake-up
20 Jan 00 | Scotland
North Sea ferry plan gathers steam
05 Oct 99 | Scotland
North Sea ferry link sails closer
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