The transport secretary is urging the UK Government to ensure that time-sensitive exports such as Scottish seafood can still reach mainland Europe if there is a no-deal Brexit.
Michael Matheson has written to UK Transport Secretary Chris Grayling to demand that critical exports are given priority access to the additional ferry capacity secured by the government when it is not being used to transport essential supplies.
Mr Matheson voiced concerns that the Department for Transport has failed to take action despite the issue being raised in previous correspondence from the Scottish Government.
He warned that livelihoods are being put at risk by this “lack of support for exporting businesses”.
Mr Matheson said: “With an annual value of £944 million, seafood accounts for 58% of Scotland’s total food exports.
“Seafood is highly perishable and therefore dependent on the sort of swift and reliable transport connections which would be damaged by a disorderly UK exit from the EU.
“The Scottish Government has, on a number of occasions, sought to have seafood and other time-critical exports prioritised through Kent and Dover.”
A UK Government spokesman said: “Leaving the European Union with a deal remains our priority but we continue to work with Scottish industry to prepare for all possible outcomes.
“As agreed by ministers across government, only goods critical to the preservation of human and animal welfare – such as medicines – will be given access to the government-secured freight capacity.”