Plans are being hatched for a direct ferry service between Rosyth, near Edinburgh, and Eemshaven, the northernmost port of the Netherlands
The service is scheduled to start late October (2019) already, to coincide with the current Brexit date of 31 October 2019. The plan was announced yesterday, 21st August by TEC Farragon, a subsidiary of the Scottish marine and offshore services and communications specialist TEC Offshore of Aberfeldy, Perthshire.
DFDS Seaways pulled out of its loss-making Rosyth-Zeebrugge service last year, but the new mooted service could provide another bypass from the congested Dover Straits in the event of a no deal Brexit.
The initiators seek to provide Scottish shippers and consignees with a ro-ro alternative for the ferry ports in eastern England, which they fear might come under extra traffic pressure once the UK leaves the EU.
It could provide an alternative for the Newcastle-IJmuiden (Amsterdam) service. Currently the northernmost ro-pax service between the UK and the Netherlands, this DFDS Seaways service offers a 16-hour passage, against 20 hours estimated for a Rosyth-Eemshaven stretch.
Eemshaven, which is part of Groningen Seaports, currently has a ferry service with the German island of Borkum as its only ferry business. The port authority is currently conducting nautical feasibility checks and simulations, but as yet sees no obstacles to accommodate bigger ferry ships.
The new service is most likely to berth at the facilities of Sealane Terminals, which recently added an extra 100m of quaywall. In addition terminal facilities would need to be added to accommodate passengers, customs and immigration and such, as new parking space and boarding lanes will also be required.
For, although initially eyeing ro-ro freight, TEC Farragon also aims at passengers, arguing how close Edinburgh and Glasgow are by car from Rosyth. As for Eemshaven its proximity to Germany and Denmark is also an asset. Both Sealane Terminals and Groningen Seaports will not comment in much detail, all still being a plan under negotiation.
One question is whose ro-pax ships would be deployed for the new service, which could eventually build up to daily frequency.
The Belgian port of Ghent, part of North Sea Ports, is seeking a ferry operator for a new service with the north of England.