November 23, 2017
Managing director of the ferry operator Moby SPL LTD Sergei Kotenev gave an interview to Russian online media ‘Expert’.
- The company went from two ferries to one. This required creating a new, complex timetable.
- Depending on which crossing, guests can stay up to 72 hours without a visa in St.Petersburg. The new element is an overnight stay on board. This initiative is successful, but not as much as SPL would like. Therefore, next year SPL plans to create a new schedule with a two-week cycle. If necessary, SPL (Moby Lines) can supply the second vessel.
- International sanctions against Russia did only affect the visits to St. Petersburg slightly. Sergei Kotenev says that prices are very attractive for foreign visitors.
- No relaxation of visa procedures for Russians expected in the actual political climate. However, the Russian passenger is important. Average age 35-55 years.
- Main target markets are Scandinavia, Germany and China.
- St. Petersburg as the cultural capital not only of Russia, but of the world. Destination with huge potential, however the political situation makes it necessary to adjust business plans every year, every quarter.
- If business booms Moby can easily transfer a ship from the Med to the Baltic.
- For a while SPL ran the services from the Marine Façade terminal. Since this is a passenger-only terminal the ferry operator had to move to Maritime Station where ferry cargo is accepted.
- In winter ice-class ships are needed, and these are hard to find. A dedicated vessel should be build. Kotenev says that “we have a project for a cruise ferry, which is designed to travel more than the traditional five days.”