A DEAL to secure a new Scotland to Europe ferry deal nears with an aim to reinstate the service in spring 2024.

SNP MP Douglas Chapman and Derek Sloan, CEO of Ptarmigan Shipping, hosted a delegation from the port of Dunkirk and ferry company DFDS at the port of Rosyth last week.

It comes two weeks after talks were held at the French port of Dunkirk where they discussed building on support from the region for this sea connection to Scotland, as well as practical arrangements for a berth at Dunkirk.

Representatives from DFDS and the Port of Dunkirk arrived at the Firth of Forth to tour facilities, and were joined by members of the UK Government Border Force team, Visit Scotland, Fife Council, Forth Ports, Scottish Development International, Transport Scotland and the French Consul General based in Edinburgh, Stephane Pailler (below).

The National:

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

Chapman said the project – which he and co-campaigner Sloan have named ‘Project Brave’ – is “truly gathering momentum”.

He added: “We were delighted to return the hospitality to our Dunkirk colleagues this time in Scotland after a successful visit to their port in October.

“Starting our tour at Transport Scotland’s Headquarters at South Queensferry we continued discussions from our recent Dunkirk trip and the potential of the new Greenport at Rosyth, before travelling to Grangemouth to view facilities and presentations from DFDS and Transport Scotland.

“Finally, we finished at Rosyth to discuss the role of Visit Scotland and the sustainable tourism potential, overcoming current barriers faced through border control issues and important next steps with all the relevant stakeholders.”

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

Sloan, meanwhile, said they are aiming to reinstate the service for spring 2024.

He added: “It seems apt to host our French counterparts and DFDS at Rosyth during International Trade Week given the enormous potential for freight access to Europe direct from Scotland once we have this route up and running again.

"Now we are aiming for spring 2024, the opportunity for tourists from Scotland and the wider continent to reduce their carbon footprint with travel by sea to and from mainland Europe rather than by road, rail of air will be hugely significant.

“The economic, environmental and connectivity benefits of Project Brave could be transformational for Scotland, and we’re delighted our French counterparts agree.”