Plans for a ferry service between Scotland and the Netherlands could help mitigate any post-Brexit chaos, it has been claimed.

The company behind it, Scottish firm TEC-Offshore says it has signed contracts to lease ferries to operate the service, and aims to have it up and running by they end of October. However the proposal for a freight and passenger link between Rosyth and Eemshaven in the Groningen region of the Netherlands still faces major hurdles. 

TEC-Offshore has confirmed it is working on the plans which would give Scotland a  direct ferry connection with Europe.

After a leaked document detailed potential risks to trade  identified by the UK Government's 'Operation Yellowhammer' the project is being touted as offering businesses trading with Europe a potential alternative to some of the ports in the south of England which face being affected by queues, delays and disruption, especially  in the case of a 'no deal' Brexit.

TEC-Offshore's director David Kellas told Dutch broadcasters it would be very challenging to have a service up and running by the Brexit date of October 31st pledged by Boris Johnson. Describing the deadline as ambitious, he added:  “but we’re an ambitious company".

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The proposal would eventually see ferries sailing daily between Fife and Groningen. While they would mainly carry freight the company also wants to appeal to tourists. Eemshaven is seen as having good connections for ongoing distribution of product such as whisky and wood. 

However it is not clear that the port has the capacity at present to accept passengers, according to NL Times, with a customs office still needing to be built and question marks over parking facilities. Meanwhile it is not clear how attractive a sailing time of 20 hours plus would be to passengers.

TEC-Farragon has discussed its plans with the Scottish Government, but while the firm would reportedly be seeking significant support of some £40m from the public purse, Scottish ministers are understood to have indicated any service would have to be commercially self-sustaining.

A freight route between Rosyth and Zeebrugge was cancelled only last year after operators P&O were unable to make it financially viable.

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Nevertheless Margaret Simpson, head of policy for Scotland & Northern England at the Freight Transport Association told Reuters the plan to link Rosyth with Eemshaven might make sense even if there were no Brexit. "It makes a lot of sense, given the potential delays”, she added. “Rather than going to southern England to sit in a queue, just drive to Rosyth.”

Groningen Seaports declined to comment on the plans for a new ferry service to the broadcaster. "We never make statements about contacts, only about contracts", logistics manager Erik Bertholet said. "But of course I will not deny these plans either."

Meanwhile Dutch Deputy Prime Minister Ksaja Ollongren tweeted: "Nice that the Scots see Groningen as the gateway to Europe,"