The city of Bruges has officially confirmed the reopening of the ferry link between Zeebrugge (West Flanders, Belgium) and the port of Rosyth, Scotland, from 2023. At first, the link will be for freight transport but the possibility of offering passenger transport is on the table, according to the mayor of Bruges, Dirk De fauw.
A ferry link existed between Zeebrugge and Scotland until 2018, when the fire on the Finlandia Seaways disrupted the operation of the ferry. This spring, discussions between the Flemish and Scottish governments were held about restoring a line and they seem to have been successful as ferries will be running again from next year between Zeebrugge and Rosyth.
According to the Brussels Times, the first ships are expected to start operating in April of 2023. The crossing would take roughly 20 hours traveling at a speed of 21 to 22 knots (around 40 km/h). The ships are designed with 2,000 meters in lanes for freight vehicles, 100 passenger cars and up to 100 travel trailers. The initial schedule includes three round trips per week with the possibility of adding another vessel at a later stage.
I’m happy to see an alternative to the old Zeebrugge-Hull link to the UK.Dirk De fauw, Mayor of Bruges
De fauw, who is also vice-president of the port of Antwerp-Bruges, is pleased about the possibilities that the agreement could offer. “I’m happy to see an alternative to the old Zeebrugge-Hull link to the UK,” De faux said to Belga news agency. “Rosyth is located not far from Edinburgh and Glasgow. These are cities with populations of 650,000 and 2 million respectively.”
A statement released by DFDS and Ptarmigan Shipping reads: “Ptarmigan Shipping and DFDS have signed an agreement with the intention to further investigate the possibility for a new ferry route between Rosyth and Zeebrugge with a target date being early 2023 for freight. This is all subject to the support we can get from the market and stakeholders, which will be our focus during the next few months. A further study is being carried out regarding the passenger business.”
Another important concern is the reduction of Green House Gas emissions. Stakeholders are hoping that the passenger business would be popular with both Scots and Belgians. The link could induce a reduction in the number of flights.
According to the Brussels Times, an initial study from Derek Sloan of Ptarmigan Shipping, which is in charge of the negotiations, showed that this direct service could be competitive in price, for both freight and passengers.
The former ferry link was used by 250,000 passengers on an annual basis. According to De fauw, the new passenger link “would be very important for tourism in Bruges and, by extension, in the whole of West Flanders”.