Page last updated at 23:01 GMT, Friday, 12 September 2008 00:01 UK

Optimism over Rosyth ferry talks

The Superfast Ferry
The ferry first sailed on the route in 2002

Negotiations to find a new operator for the Rosyth to Zeebrugge ferry are "ongoing", according to Forth Ports.

Earlier this year the Greek-based company running the Superfast ferry said it was pulling out, with the last ferry sailing this weekend.

Forth Ports said it was "optimistic" that negotiations could be concluded in "a short space of time" and it would be keeping the terminal operational.

The Scottish Government said the route was still "economically viable".

A spokeswoman added: "We will continue to work closely with our partners in Forth Ports and Fife Council to do everything possible to secure a successful outcome."

The chief executive of Forth Ports PLC, Charles Hammond, described the ferry as of "vital strategic importance to Scotland".

He added: "I can confirm that negotiations with a new operator are ongoing."

Mr Hammond continued: "Since commencing in 2002, the Rosyth - Zeebrugge ferry has been successful, carrying almost one million passengers and 200,000 freight units.

"We look forward to building on this success, especially on the freight side where we see significant expansion opportunities."

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