A SCOTS MP has said the reality of Brexit Britain is making people think about our future links with Europe and has triggered interest in the idea of reinstating a ferry link between Rosyth and the Belgian port of Zeebrugge for passengers and freight.

The freight-only service was axed last year after P&O was unable to make it pay, but Dunfermline and West Fife SNP member, Douglas Chapman, said the campaign to revive the ferry was now looking for an operator.

He told The National that people across Scotland had said they “really miss” the previous service, adding: “The goodwill that I’ve picked up throughout the campaign for a new service never fails to impress me and serves as a great motivator to deliver this for our people and our economy.

“As the reality of Brexit sinks in, that starts to make people think about our future links with Europe, how we will trade in the future and how we keep friendly relations with our European neighbours.

“What we are looking towards is the reinstatement of the Rosyth-Zeebrugge passenger and freight service.

“No-one I’ve spoken to from Government ministers, to port authorities and industry insiders have suggested that this service couldn’t be viable or couldn’t be a success.”

He said they were now looking for a new operator who wanted to make a serious, long-term investment to put the route on the ferry map of Scotland and Europe. Discussions were also taking place with potential operators.

“I remain hopeful that such an operator can see the exciting prospect of moving our exports and passengers by sea from the heart of Scotland to the heart of Europe and vice versa,” he said.

Chapman said discussions had taken place with the Scottish Government’s Transport Minister, Michael Matheson and the Scottish Secretary, David Mundell – and both of whom, he said, saw the benefits of such a service for Scotland. He said: “Having their support at the highest levels of government in Edinburgh and in London is a bonus to the campaign.

“Since Christmas we have also heard the Ministry of Transport announce they would support south coast ports and ferry services to the tune of £100 million should there be a no-deal Brexit to move traffic more freely from the UK to Europe.

“I would hope that if a Brexit deal is delivered then some of that no-deal money could be re-allocated to Scotland to support ferry services such as Rosyth-Zeebrugge.

“We need to be supporting Scottish exporters from here and help them avoid any customs log jam at Dover or any other South coast port. For passengers, a ferry service will attract a different kind of tourist to Scotland – they’ll bring their motor home, car or their bike and not everyone likes the prospect of flying – so there’s a considerable tourist market there we could be tapping into more effectively.

“Brexit poses lots of problems and questions for us but we have to make the most of the current situation and I look forward to the day when Scotland’s Euro-ferry is sailing up and down the Forth ... taking our goods to the huge European market or bringing in our European neighbours who want to spend time in Scotland.”