By | 2020 Newsletter week 33 | No Comments

According to the recent XRTC Business Consultants report, the Hellenic Coastal Shipping is entering a new era due to the pandemic.

The passenger traffic reduction by 50% will probably cause possible movements within the sector as well as allow new entries.

The most important points of the report are the following:

  • The passenger traffic of 2020 will be reduced by 49% compared to 2019 (about 8,88 million passengers compared to 18,2 million last year). The first five months of 2020 were disappointing for the ferry companies, as there was a drop of 60% in the transport traffic. As a result, only a few ships are currently operating –due to the pandemic- in order to cover the needs of this years’ high season, while many other ships remain moored including the majority of the high-speed crafts.
  • The winter of 2020-2021 will be particularly difficult for the sector, as the revenues from both the first semester and the summer season 2020 is not enough to cover sufficiently the operators’ financial and operational needs. So, the only way to stay afloat is to take a direct state or European subsidy.
  • The Greek ferry market should immediately take action on two levels: The first level is related to its survival while the second to its long-term maintenance and sustainability through European funds. At both levels, state aid is necessary.
  • This year’s financial results are not expected to be positive for the ferry operators, apart from a small number of companies that serve exclusively public interest lines. It is therefore important that both investors and financiers deal with the situation prudently in order to avoid an imminent immediate collapse of the companies.
  • Today, the large ferry operators (Attica Group, Minoan Lines and ANEK Lines) control about half of Greece’s transport traffic. The other half is controlled by comparatively new companies (leading Seajets), who have managed to control – with their fleet (65 conventional and high-speed crafts) – significant shares mainly in the Aegean markets and inter-island travel.

Scottish Newbuilding GLEN SANNOX in Dry Dock on Major Step to Completion

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GLEN SANNOX, the first of two dual fuel vessels being built at Ferguson Marine (Port Glasgow) Ltd, has been moved to dry dock in Greenock to undergo a planned schedule of remedial work.  The dry dock period is a major step in Ferguson’s revised programme to complete the two public sector vessels.

The ferry requires a remediation package of work, including replacement of the bulbous bow, paint repair, removal of marine growth from the vessel hull, and other work.

The repairs and rework were identified during the review of the condition of the two dual fuel vessels, conducted after the shipyard went into administration in August 2019, and are included in the programme review board report published in December 2019.

GLEN SANNOX is scheduled to return to the Ferguson shipyard at the end of August.

The shipyard is wholly owned by Scottish Ministers.  It was taken into public ownership in December 2019.

A New High-Speed Ferry Link between Sardinia and Corsica

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The Naples-based ferry company Navigazione Libera del Golfo, controlled by the Aponte family and run by Maurizio Aponte as a CEO, is opening a new high-speed ferry line linking the ports of Santa Teresa di Gallura in Sardinia and Bonifacio in Corsica.

On the same routes both Blu Navy and Moby are already active but with ro-pax vessels.

The deployed catamaran is the PONZA JET which can accommodate 350 passengers (no cars) and will cover the distance between Santa Teresa and Bonifacio in 15 minutes, much less than the car ferry service offered by the competitors which takes at least 50 minutes.

The new high-speed ferry link is expected to run until mid-September.

Two Ferries from Grandi Navi Veloci Selected as Accommodation Vessels for Migrants in Quarantine

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Following a first case with the MOBY ZAZA concluded at the end of July, the Italian transport ministry had recently published a pair of announcements inviting ferry companies to propose ro-pax units capable of hosting aboard migrants set to be quarantined upon arrival off the Italian coasts from North Africa.

The first expression of interest invitation was set to expire on July 29, while the second on August 7. The value of each contract exceeds EUR 3.3 million until mid-October (thus for two months).

Both the vessels found come from GNV fleet. The first ‘tender’ was won by GNV AZZURRA which, with over 500 cabins, is already deployed off the cost of Sicily and on the routes to and from Lampedusa Island.

The second ship is the seasoned ferry AURELIA (also belonging to a company within the MSC group) which can offer almost 300 cabins.

Tallink Re-opens Limited Maritime Traffic between Tallinn and Stockholm at the end of August

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Tallink will reopen the traffic between Tallinn and Stockholm in a limited capacity from 26 August 2020 and initially mainly for cargo transportation.  Traffic between the two capital cities was suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic and state of emergency declared in Estonia in March this year.

From 26 August, BALTIC QUEEN will operate one return trip on the Tallinn-Stockholm route every week, departing from Stockholm on Tuesday evenings and from Tallinn on Wednesday evenings.

In addition to the Tallinn-Stockholm return trips, BALTIC QUEEN will also operate on the Turku-Tallinn route on weekends and will provide cargo transportation between Turku and Stockholm on Mondays and Thursdays every week.

Grimaldi Group Sustainability Report 2019

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The Grimaldi Group has recently published its 2019 Sustainability Report, describing its economic, social and environmental performance and emphasizing the process of reporting and transparent management of sustainability issues which started in 2015.

In 2019, the Group’s turnover exceeded € 3 billion for the second year in a row, with an increase of over € 100 million compared to 2018 (+4%) and a significant increase of its EBITDA (approximately +24%).

Over 80% of the economic value generated was distributed among suppliers, employees, lenders, the Public Administration and the community.

The strength of the Grimaldi Group is the efficiency of its fleet made up of over 130 ships – of which 118 owned – designed and optimized to transport any type of rolling cargo, containers and passengers, with an average age of around 14 years, significantly below the industry average and the useful life of ships.

CalMac Acts to Support Passengers at Largs Cumbrae

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CalMac is to bring in extra staff to help support passengers who end up in long queues on the Largs Cumbrae route.

Current restrictions on board due to the ongoing Covid crisis means average capacity across CalMac’s fleet is running at around 35% compared to normal.

The extra staff will be on hand to assist and advise passengers on the route which, due to a combination of good weather and capacity restrictions required by social distancing, has seen lengthy waiting times recently.

Queues of up to three hours have impacted day trippers, tourists and islanders trying to get to and from the popular island of Great Cumbrae.


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DFDS Q2: Pickup in Demand Faster than Expected 

Q2 2020

  • Revenue down 34% to DKK 2.8bn
  • EBITDA down 49% to DKK 507m
  • Rebound in freight volumes at end of Q2 and in July, better than expected
  • Passenger activities cause most of profit decrease
  • Encouraging pickup in passenger demand for reopened routes
  • Outlook improved: EBITDA of DKK 2.2-2.5bn now expected for 2020 (previously: likely to be reduced towards DKK 2bn)

”Our outlook is improved. Freight volumes have picked up and the demand for ferry travel is encouraging on our reopened passenger routes. It is uncertain whether the pickup in demand is sustainable and we therefore remain alert,” says Torben Carlsen, CEO.


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Danish Staycation Benefits Swedish Port of Ystad

July has been a very good month for the ferry traffic between the Swedish port of Ystad and the Danish Island of Bornholm.

Cars went up +22.6% (88,720) and passengers +6.4% (317,388). The number of ship calls (241) was a 10% increase compared to July last year.

In most countries the pandemic made people decide to spend a holiday in their own country, or in worst case they were not allowed to cross the border.

For Danish people it was ok to pass the Öresundsbridge and the Swedish motorway corridor to embark in Ystad, bound for Bornholm.

Subsequently freight units increased too, with +18.8% (678)

The traffic between Ystad and Poland saw 26,907 cars and 78,369 passengers, still remarkable results in spite of the pandemic.

Lifting of British Quarantine has a Positive Effect on Cross Channel Flows

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On July 10 the British quarantine was effectively lifted, after having been announced on 26 June. Immediately people started to book their crossings, which can be seen in both the port of Dover figures, as those from the Channel tunnel.

Port of Dover has two ferry routes, one to Dunkerque (DFDS) and one to Calais (DFDS, P&O).

Since the start of the school holidays, passenger cars have seen a drop of 66% (compared to same period last year). It is a big improvement on the volumes before travel restrictions were eased.

Coaches are down 96%, although absolute volumes have started to rise slightly.

GetLink’s Passenger Shuttles transported 233,172 vehicles, which is -21% less compared to July 2019.

Le Shuttle Freight carried only -5% trucks in July 2020 and returned to traffic levels close to normal.