Forth Ports and the Scottish Executive (aka 'Government') have announced that a new operator has been identified for the Rosyth-Zeebrugge ferry route; Dutch ferry company Norfolkline, a subsidiary of the Danish A.P. Moller – Maersk group, will start up the direct ferry link between Scotland and Belgium again in April next year. The announcement comes barely a week after the former operator, Superfast Ferries, ceased plying the route. I wrote about Superfast Ferries' decision to disciontinue the route here.
Norfolkline currently operates three passenger ferry services: Dover-Dunkirk, Liverpool (Birkenhead)-Belfast and Liverpool (Birkenhead)-Dublin, so the addition of the Rosyth-Zeebrugge link possibly contributes to its "land bridge" strategy. In any case it is pleasing that there will continue to be a viable way of getting to mainland Europe by ferry from Scotland, without having to drive further south to take the Newcastle-Ijmuiden ferry (DFDS Seaways), the Hull-Zeebrugge ferry (P&O Ferries) or the even more lengthy journey down to Harwich or Dover. I shall very probably be using the Newcastle-Ijmuiden ferry over Christmas and New Year this year as I shall be spending a couple of weeks in the Netherlands and wish to take my car; the journey down to Newcastle adds a further three or so hours driving to the journey from Nairn as against the drive to Rosyth and, at that time of year, definitely requires an overnight stop, specially as I shall be travelling with my elderly mother. It will be good to be able to consider using the Rosyth-Zeebrugge crossing again from Spring next year.