Emanuele Grimaldi, CEO of Grimaldi Group, exclusively announced to Ferry Shipping News that his company has formally opposed the financial measures decided in Italy and in Finland to support some ferry competitors.
“We have formally contested, both on the local market and in Europe, those measures aimed at giving financial support specifically to some companies and which is selective, discriminatory and capable of distorting competition” Grimaldi said.
Legal actions have been promoted and addressed to Rome and Bruxelles for the EUR 72 million public subsidies extended by the Italian government to Compagnia Italiana di Navigazione (part of Onorato Armatori and operating Tirrenia’s fleet and routes) until 18 July 2021.
A similar action was taken in Finland against the National Emergency Supply Agency which “has already granted financial support to four out of seven commercial operators securing the main maritime bridges for rubber-tired vehicles. Finnlines has also filed an application under this same emergency financial support programme but up to know we did not receive any public aid”. For this reason, Grimaldi sent a letter to the European Union Directorate-General for Competition accusing Finland’s government of providing selective assistance to five ferry operators that compete with Finnlines.
In an interview published in the Wall Street Journal, the Italian owner further added: “Those who are not strong enough to survive should be incorporated by those who are strong. That’s the way it should work, but with the pandemic, it’s not. I’ve never seen so much state interference in shipping,” Grimaldi concluded.