Freight ferry service to take over Scottish Viking passenger route
By Christine Lavelle
The new schedule will see two ships operate on the route providing four departures a week from each port, allowing freight capacity on the service to be significantly improved.
Both vessels to be deployed on the service – the Tor Finladia and the Tor Cimbria – will have capacity for around 130 trailers, compared to the Scottish Viking which could only accommodate 120 trailers.
But while the new ships will carry freight only, the Viking was a combined freight and passenger service.
Sailing schedules have also been adjusted to accommodate the delivery demands of key operators, with the introduction of early Monday morning arrivals in both Rosyth and Zeebrugge.
Allan Hull, route director for DFDS Seaways, said: “The freight service between Rosyth and Zeebrugge has been very popular with the haulage industry, which has recognised the benefits of the route providing the only direct Ro-Ro link between Scotland and the continent.
“While it was a matter of deep regret that the passenger service had to be withdrawn, we saw potential in enhancing the freight service to meet increased demand from the sector.
“Our new schedule will see two Ro-Ro ships operate on the route with the number of sailings increasing from three to four departures a week.
“We have sought to not just to expand but to improve the service to meet the demands of the freight trade, not least with the early arrivals and later departures.
“The new schedule offers great potential to the freight industry to expand their use of the route, which can only serve to underline the importance of the Rosyth to Zeebrugge link to Scotland.”
Keith Brown MSP, Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, said: “The Rosyth to Zeebrugge ferry route is an important link between Scotland and the continent.
“The increased capacity that two vessels and an additional weekly sailing will bring will no doubt be greatly welcomed by the freight industry.
“Although we are disappointed by the decision to withdraw the passenger service, we have requested that DFDS keep this under review.
The current weather conditions certainly highlight the benefit of having a direct route to Europe.
“Not to mention the significant positive impact it delivers in relation to climate change by removing a significant number of lorry miles from our roads.”
DFDS Seaways also operates a daily passenger service from Newcastle to Amsterdam, offering Scottish customers another means of getting to Europe if they are willing to travel down first.
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