Ferry money refused

Norshukon, the ferry project of John White who hopes eventually to run a passenger service from Shetland to Norway, has been unsuccessful in its bid for EU Marco Polo funding, it was announced this week.

However operator Mr White said that while he was disappointed, he was “not despondent” and is looking at other, non public, funding options for the project.

This is the second time the company has bid for the funding. On the last occasion, in September 2008, the bid failed due to competition from a separate company, Superfast, which was at that time working on the Rosyth-Zeebrugge leg of the route.

It is believed that Norshukon was one of 70 bids received by the European Commission. If it had been successful, the bid would have allowed phase one of the project to link mid Norway with Zeebrugge.

EU evaluators commented that while the submission had been “well executed” and had “satisfied the criteria for modal shift, environ–mental benefits, social benefits and did not give rise to any unacceptable distortions to competition” it “did not provide sufficient evidence to give them confidence of the traffic volumes committed”.

Mr White said: “Needless to say I am disappointed that after two years of development of my proposal for the new ferry service, our bid for EU funding was not successful.”

Mr White said that he was looking at going ahead on a purely commercial basis, which would also allow him to escape the restraints of Marco Polo funding conditions.

He continued: “I am however continuing to investigate the feasibility of starting the route without public sector support as I remain convinced that the project will prove to be viable.”


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