Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Multi Million Investment in Freight Route by Port and RoRo Ferry Groups Goes Ahead

Meeting with Top Scottish Minister Confirms Deal
Shipping News Feature

UK – BELGIUM – A meeting between Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, and the CEO’s of DFDS and Forth Ports has resulted in the confirmation that there is to be an investment of over €6 million by the two companies in the future of the Rosyth-Zeebrugge freight route. The importance of a continuation of the only RoRo freight route connecting Scotland to the Continent was highlighted during discussions which detailed route developments and the concrete investment plan, for which the basis has been laid in November 2014 when the three parties published a joint statement to secure the route’s future. Nicola Sturgeon commented:

“The Rosyth to Zeebrugge freight route is a vital link for Scotland’s economy and hugely important for the large number of customers who use it to get their goods in and out of the country. It is therefore extremely welcome news that DFDS is to continue to operate this service. The investment in port improvements by Forth Ports is also a vital component of increasing the capacity and efficiency of the service. Along with all parties we are committed to work together to look at new ways of increasing and improving its service for years to come.”

The investment plan by DFDS includes the investment in scrubber technology that removes sulphur from the exhaust gases, and a fuel optimisation programme on Finlandia Seaways, the DFDS vessel operating on the route. This investment will help to secure the long-term sustainability of the route and the scrubber will be installed during the vessel’s next dry-dock period by the end of this year. Stein van Est, Route Director DFDS Seaways said:

“We are very pleased with the investment programme as it will secure a long-term perspective for the Rosyth-Zeebrugge route and enable companies to continue to use a direct, environmentally friendly means of transport between Scotland and the Continent.”

In the meantime Forth Ports will carry out the necessary infrastructure adjustments to the Port of Rosyth to facilitate the double-stacking of containers on board the vessel. This will increase the freight capacity of the vessel by an extra 300 lane metres, as demanded by Scottish and Continental customers. Charles Hammond, CEO of Forth Ports commented:

“The route is an important economic generator for Scotland, servicing the general, chemicals, food and drinks and automotive sectors. The Infrastructural adjustments are about €1 million and we expect this work to be completed in autumn this year.”