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Thursday, 15 August, 2002, 18:24 GMT 19:24 UK
Ferry call for Scots truckers
Rosyth ferry
The ferry has been sailing from Rosyth since May
Haulage companies are being urged to use Scotland's first direct ferry link to mainland Europe - because they cannot afford to lose it.

The warning has been issued by the Road Haulage Association in Scotland.

The service from Rosyth in Fife to the Belgian port of Zeebrugge was launched in May.

Superfast ferry brochure
Ferries sail from Scotland to Belgium daily
It has proven a big success with tourists during the summer, but there has been some concern over the amount of freight traffic using the route.

The Road Haulage Association hosted a lunch on board the ferry on Thursday to promote the service to its members.

It is warning that the European Working Time Directive, which will tighten up the rules for drivers by 2005, will make it difficult for them to keep to their hours if they have to drive to English ports.

Regional director, Phil Flanders, said haulage will become more expensive over the next few years.

However, he believes that using the service from Rosyth will be one way of keeping costs down.


I want to make sure that it is there when the hauliers really need it

Phil Flanders, RHA

He said the price is already favourable when compared to the cost of driving to England and then sailing to the continent.

Speaking on BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme he said: "This route gives everybody the opportunity to get across to the continent without using their driving time.

"Any time the drivers are on the ferry won't count towards their working time.

"If we don't use it, and we couple that with the driver shortage, then there is not going to be enough drivers to drive all the trucks."

Ferry capacity

Superfast Ferries, which runs the Scottish service, has made it clear that the ferry cannot survive without healthy freight bookings.

Mr Flanders said the link will be vital in three years time, so it is important for drivers to support it now.

"I want to make sure that it is there when the hauliers really need it and if we can do anything to highlight this then that will be beneficial to Scottish hauliers."

It takes more than 17 hours to travel from Rosyth to Zeebrugge.

However, the service saves passengers and truckers having to drive via Hull or the English Channel ports.

Each ferry can carry more than 1,000 passengers, 120 cars and 100 commercial vehicles.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Transport correspondent Louise Batchelor
"Freight is running at about a quarter of the ferry's capacity"
Phil Flanders, RHA
"If we don't use it then we won't have any drivers to drive the trucks"
See also:

17 May 02 | Scotland
16 May 02 | Scotland
27 Mar 02 | Scotland
10 Aug 01 | Scotland
11 May 01 | Scotland
05 May 01 | Scotland
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