TALKS have been held at the French port of Dunkirk to discuss plans for the reinstatement of the ferry link between Rosyth and Europe.

SNP MP Douglas Chapman – the lead campaigner for the issue alongside Ptarmigan Shipping's Derek Sloan – said they were “very productive”.

We previously reported that a petition calling for the ferry service's return, which stopped sailing five years ago, reached thousands of signatures. 

Meeting this week with the Mayor of Dunkirk and the Scottish Government team in Paris, Chapman and Sloan discussed building on support from the region for this sea connection to Scotland, as well as practical arrangements for a berth at Dunkirk.

Ferry provider DFDS was also present, as well representatives from the Port of Dunkirk and Forth Ports.

READ MORE: Scotland to Europe ferry: A timeline of once popular service

Chapman (below) – who represents Dunfermline and West Fife at Westminster – said: “We had a very cordial and productive visit with our French counterparts at Dunkirk to discuss getting this ferry service up and running by the spring of next year, focusing on the opportunities inherent in this vital connection and barriers to overcome which lie, in the main, with the UK's Border Force.

“We are all working hard to find the appropriate solutions to allow the service to get underway for freight and passengers alike.

“We had initially looked at Zeebrugge as our European destination port, but the berth we wanted became unavailable, so we immediately looked to Dunkirk instead where our preferred operator, DFDS, already has a huge presence.

“Dunkirk has all the factors in place as the perfect ferry destination for continental Europe, both in terms of the business case and its physical capabilities, with the necessary infrastructure including an available berth and border control facilities, an excellent passenger terminal, onward freight destinations, and access to Belgium, Germany, Holland and France for holiday makers.”

The National: Douglas Chapman MP

Following the visit, Sloan added: "Of course, the economic, environmental and connectivity benefits of getting this ferry up and running again will be huge for Scotland.

“Market feedback shows us there is a strong potential demand for car accompanied travel from Scotland to the continent, with Scotland seen as a great year-round destination for holiday makers with many coming from France, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.

“The boost to tourism both locally and nationally could be significant as would the reduction in carbon footprint from taking holiday makers and freight off the road, rail and air networks. For freight, faster transit times and avoiding congested ports at Dover will be a major factor in terms of the cost competitiveness aspect of this route.”

It has been announced that a follow-up meeting will take place in Rosyth very soon, with the Port of Dunkirk set to visit Scotland.