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Scottish Region visit to the Port of Rosyth and Superfast Ferries Ltd on 13 May 2004

The Scottish Region were privileged to visit the port of Rosyth and Superfast Ferries Ltd. to see the how both organizations work together to provide the high speed ferry service to Zeebrugge.

The members gathered in the terminal building, built in 2002. Passengers not travelling by car are checked in here and as the building is covered by the Maritime and Aviation Security Act, passengers have to undergo the same security checks as air travellers by having to pass through metal detectors and have their luggage x-rayed before boarding the vessel. The building also has accommodation for H M. Revenue & Customs, the Immigration Service and Fife Constabulary. Superfast Ferries and their agents, Denholms, also have offices within the building.

The first part of the visit was a tour of the port facilities conducted by Captain McNeil who explained the various parts of the operations undertaken. Within the terminal areas, up to 180 unaccompanied trailers can be parked and there is a dedicated container holding area with 150 TEU capacity.

Members having the detailed workings of the port explained.d

Members having the detailed workings of the port explained.

© John G. Fender 2011

Vehicles arriving at the port follow their own route to the freight area and on arrival are checked in and are photographed by a video monitoring system that stores up to 14 images of each trailer. H. M. Customs and Excise have a specialist examination shed with a weighbridge, raised floor and dock leveller for devanning goods from both containers and trailers.

The port currently has 6 Terberg Tractors, each capable of handling trailers up to 60 tonnes to move trailers around the port and onto the ferry. Containers are handled using a Kalmar Reachstacker, capable of lifting containers weighing up to 45 tonnes. The reachstacker can also bottom-lift containers using a special attachment.

The ferry is accessed by means of a two level floating linkspan, consisting of a double lane lower bridge and a single lane upper bridge. The lower bridge has a hydraulically adjusted pontoon ramp that provides a landing area for the ships ramp. The pontoon is 30.5 metres in length and the upper and lower bridge lengths are 38 metres.

Superfast X, the ferry visited by the members with the Forth Railway bridge in the background.d

Superfast X, the ferry visited by the members with the Forth Railway bridge in the background.

© John G. Fender 2011

The party was then given a tour of the "Superfast X" one of the two ferries built in 2001 - 2002 operated by Superfast Ferries Ltd. on the service to Zeebrugge. With a length of 203.3 metres and a beam of 25 metres, each ferry can accommodate 692 passengers, 115 cars and 110 freight units at speeds of up to 29 knots.

This daily service has a journey time of 17and a half hours. Members were shown the freight deck and then proceeded through the ship to the passenger areas. A superb buffet lunch was served in the lounge area and afterwards members were given the opportunity to see the various cabins and passenger accommodation.

A short presentation was given by Forth Ports plc on their operations during which the background to the establishment of the Port of Rosyth and its expansion to in 1999 when further land was acquired enabling the port area to be extended to nearly 100 acres was given. The port was a former Royal Navy base and was acquired by a consortium after its closure in 1997. Forth Ports plc is the largest port operator in Scotland and the second largest in the UK. Rosyth currently handles some 50 million tons of cargo each year. It's sheltered position makes it an attractive port and cruise liners make use of the facilities, given it's proximity to Edinburgh and Fife.

The Scottish Region would like to record its thanks to both Forth Ports plc and Superfast Ferries Ltd. and in particular to Lindsey McQuarrie and Captain Paddy McNeil of Forth Ports plc and to Denise Holmes, Jeanette Gulbrandsen and their colleagues for showing the members around, answering the many questions and for the excellent buffet lunch provided.

Report by John Fender.


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