Tallink Grupp will require passengers travelling to Finland to present a negative COVID-19 test result certificate or a certificate from the GP evidencing that the passenger has recovered from coronavirus. The new requirement follows a strong recommendation from the Finnish Health Authority (Terveyden ja hyvinvointilaitos) to all shipping companies operating passenger ferries between Finland and neighbouring countries to introduce such a requirement.
Finland is Prepared to Secure Ferry Connections with Subsidies
The Finnish Transport and Communications Agency has announced a tendering process for a subsidized ferry service Turku (or Naantali) – Mariehamn – Stockholm – Mariehamn/Långnäs) – Turku (or Naantali) until the end of 2020 (eventually end of May 2021).
Finland wants to secure supply logistics and transport requirements of Finnish foreign trade.
The tender is split in two: a morning and an evening departure from Finland. (a company can decide to tender for only one departure, or for both)
Tender deadline: 5 October.
Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom is preparing a financial aid package of EUR 24.8 million to help ferry companies that are in trouble because of the pandemic.
The aid can go to multiple companies. The operation has to be loss-making and the route has to be vital for Finland.
Last week Finland has announced the lifting of travel restrictions for a number of countries, including Sweden and Germany. The restrictions are based on a new limit of 25 infections per 100,000 inhabitants. Before it was 8.
These first changes to travel restrictions will take effect on September 19.
Ferry companies, unions and other stakeholders welcome the decision but demand predictability in government decisions and communications.
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.
As of 14 May 2020, legislative restrictions on border traffic will be lifted for cross-border traffic within the Schengen area by allowing commuter traffic based on employment or assignment and other essential traffic.
It is no longer necessary to provide reasons for the necessity to travel.
Internal border control will continue at land borders, ports and airports. It is still not recommended to travel abroad for leisure.
The New TT-Line Ferries Will Be Built in Finland instead of Germany
From ‘down under’ Ferry Shipping News received the information that the contract between Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft mbH & Co. KG. (FSG) and TT-Line Tasmania has been cancelled.
Two ferries had been ordered for Tasmania’s Bass Strait. However, several projects at FSG are delayed, such as Irish Ferries’ and Brittany Ferries’ new ropax units.
Now FSG and TT-Line mutually agreed to cancel the contract.
TT-Line signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Rauma Marine Constructions in Finland. The new delivery dates are 2022/2023.
The Tasmanian minister of transport said that “the majority of the work undertaken to date on the new vessels by TT-Line and their expert consultants is transferrable and can be utilised in the detailed design phase and contract negotiations with the new shipbuilder.”
In 2019, the Global investment company Tennor Holding B.V. became the sole owner of the German shipyard FSG after the acquisition of all remaining shares in FSG from the former owners, Siem Europe Sarl.
On Day 1 of the Ferry Shipping Summit, Irish Ferries got the award for the “Ferry of the Year 2019” (see special edition of this newsletter).
Let us have a closer look at the award winner. Ladies and gentlemen, here is W.B. YEATS!
Rederi Ab Eckerö, based in the Åland Islands province of Finland, is a company with a diverse portfolio: two ferry lines, a cruise line, a roro cargo tonnage provider and even a bus company. Ferry Shipping News’, Finland-based freelance correspondent, Kalle Id, had a question and answer session with Björn Blomqvist, the managing director Rederi Ab Eckerö, in the cargo offices of the company’s Finland-Estonia subsidiary Eckerö Line in Helsinki last week.
In 2016, the Finnish Government has committed itself to co-finance the Kvarken transport project (ferry link between the cities of Vaasa and Umeå).
The Government has now amended the budget for 2018, and this includes EUR 10 million for the development and the continuity of the existing ferry services, and another EUR 10 million for the new ferry project.
A decision about the planned biogas / LNG hybrid ferry project is expected to be taken in December.