THE new Rosyth to Dunkirk ferry could be “very positive” for Scotland, according to a leading expert on European politics and public policy.

Dr Kirsty Hughes, the founder of the Scottish Centre on European Relations, said that it would make transport “easier” if Scotland were to rejoin the European Union as it would mean avoiding England and Wales as a third country. 

The National reported earlier this week that a deal to secure a Scotland to Europe ferry deal for both freight and passengers is nearing with an aim to reinstate the service in spring 2024.

Derek Sloan, the man – alongside SNP MP Douglas Chapman – working behind the scenes to make it happen, said it would be “transformational”.

The CEO of Ptarmigan Shipping also likened it to the so-called "Brexit buster" ferry routes he successfully started between Ireland and Europe, in response to Irish businesses desperate to find a way around the UK post-Brexit.

READ MORE: New documentary celebrates life and legacy of Alasdair Gray

Hughes said such a route would be good news for Scotland as well.

She explained: “As Ireland has found post-Brexit, being able to move freight directly to the rest of the EU rather than through England and Wales, a third country, can make transport easier.”

The academic was also positive about the route more generally, saying: “Direct routes from Scotland to the European continent could be very positive - if commercially viable - both in taking freight off roads, eventually offering sea routes instead of air.”

Scottish businesses currently need to take the ferry from Newcastle if they want to export to Europe after the freight service between Rosyth and Zeebrugge in Belgium stopped sailing five years ago. The last that carried passenger services was in 2010.

There are hopes that the proposed Rosyth to Dunkirk route is only the start of a number of future ferry routes linking Scotland to Europe – including northern Germany and Scandinavia.