Finnlines to enhance Biscay service with bi-weekly connections between Belgium and Spain

By | 2023 Newsletter week 51 | No Comments

Starting in January 2024, Finnlines will expand its Biscay services to include a bi-weekly connection between the ports of Bilbao, Vigo, and Zeebrugge.

Through this new service, Finnlines and its parent company, the Grimaldi Group, aim to strengthen their network in the Iberian Peninsula, establishing a link from the Atlantic coast to the North and Baltic Seas.

The schedule will feature departures from Zeebrugge and Bilbao on Wednesdays and Saturdays, while from Vigo, the service will operate on Thursdays and Sundays.

Connections through Zeebrugge will facilitate further services to Ireland, the UK, Norway, and Sweden. Additionally, from Antwerp, there is access to the extensive Grimaldi network, which includes routes to North and South America, West Africa, and the Far East.

Finnlines welcomes FINNCANOPUS

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Finnlines took delivery of FINNCANOPUS, which is the second of two Superstar-series Ro-Pax ferries, at the China Merchants Jinling Shipyard in Weihai, China, on 12 December 2023.

The vessel will enter Finnlines’ line between Finland and Sweden (Naantali–Långnäs–Kapellskär) in February 2024.

Finnlines’ Financial review January–September 2023

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Key figures

January-September 2023

  • Revenue EUR 513.2 (558.4 in 2022) million -8%
  • EBITDA EUR 131.7 (169.2) million -22%
  • Result for the reporting period EUR 56.9 (105.2) million -46%
  • Interest bearing debt increased by EUR 52.4 million and was EUR 457.1 (404.7) million at the end of the period.

Q3, 2023

  • Revenue EUR 176.8 (201.5 in 2022) million -12%
  • EBITDA EUR 42.1 (71.5) million, -41%
  • Result for the reporting period EUR 15.1 (48.8) million -69%.

Tom Pippingsköld, President and CEO, in conjunction with the review:

“The geopolitical situation is uncertain, and both global and Euro area demand are slow. The EU is experiencing either negative or stagnant growth. Projections for GDP growth in 2023 and 2024 are modest at 0.6% and 1.1%, respectively. Central banks remain wary of inflation, despite a decrease. The European Central Bank’s swift interest rate hikes have negatively impacted private consumption, construction, and corporate investments, hindering economic activity in EU countries. Finland’s export volumes have decreased by 4.7%, and imports by 9.6% in the last 12 months. There’s a call for the ECB to promptly address the declining growth outlook by reducing interest rates.“

“While the negative development in Finland’s exports and imports have resulted in lower cargo volumes for Finnlines and reduced our result, the upward trend in passenger volumes has been very good. Despite the reduced cargo volumes, Finnlines was able to retain its market share.”

Finnlines took delivery of three hybrid ro-ro vessels already in 2022 and this year, in mid-July, the first of the two Superstar class vessels, Finnsirius, was delivered and entered the Naantali–Långnäs–Kapellskär (Finland–Åland Islands–Sweden) route on 15 September 2023.

The second Superstar ro-pax vessel, Finncanopus will be delivered at the end of the year. Finnlines’ EUR 500-million Green Newbuilding Investment Programme, which started in 2018, is nearly completed.

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VIKING CINDERELLA reflagged under Finnish flag

By | 2023 Newsletter week 44 | No Comments

In March 2024, Viking Line will take its vessel Viking Cinderella out of cruise service between Stockholm and Mariehamn so that it can instead be launched in service on the company’s Helsinki-Mariehamn-Stockholm route. In conjunction, the vessel will be reflagged under a Finnish flag.

For Viking Rederi Ab’s staff, the change will not give rise to any redundancies. VIKING CINDERELLA’s staff will be offered continued employment on the vessel after the reflagging under Finnish collective agreement terms.

In the spring of 2024, a new cruise service departing from Stockholm will be launched in a joint venture between the shipping companies Viking Line and Gotlandsbolaget. This will enable staff at Viking Rederi to express their interest in beginning employment on the vessel previously called BIRKA STOCKHOLM. This vessel will serve under a Swedish flag and be subject to Swedish collective agreement terms.

Based on the agreement between Viking Line and Gotlandsbolaget, Viking Rederi will manage catering staff and Destination Gotland will manage operational staff on the jointly owned vessel.

Finnlines wants to remain a reliable sea bridge – deepens its commitment to Åland

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On Tuesday 31 October, Finnlines’ general management met with important stakeholders and decisionmakers in Åland, focusing on how to further develop and deepen the operator’s commitment to Åland.

Finnlines carries out 4 sailings to Åland every day – 2 in each direction. The frequency of the sailings will remain unchanged, but with even more capacity when a second Superstar vessel is introduced Q1 2024.

Tom Pippingsköld, President and CEO, Finnlines.

”In our view we are building bridges, not just vessels. We are a reliable infrastructure connection and set up sea bridges with a long-term commitment. We belong to a large group, which is beneficial as it makes it possible for us to invest in new sustainable vessels. But we are also a local operator, with a clearly local focus on our different routes. Långnäs is and will remain a key port in our Finland–Åland–Sweden route, even if we also might call at Mariehamn on some occasions.”

Thomas Doepel, Vice President and Deputy CEO, Finnlines

”One of the purposes of our visit to Åland is to tell about our sustainability work, how we are step by step implementing the best technology available. We will continue our investments in newbuilds, and shift to sustainable fuels when we can rely on the market. We will also continue upgrading our older vessels with new technology.”

Marco Palmu, Head of Passenger Service, Finnlines

”We hope to help increasing the tourism to Åland, where we see a large potential. Therefore, we also wish to deepen our cooperation with Visit Åland, with a joint objective to attract more visitors to Åland. Our part of this work is to deliver reliable and comfortable transport solutions, be a strong partner for the ålandic hospitality industry, and invest in marketing of Åland both in Sweden and on the Finnish mainland.”

Finnlines’ Financial review January–June 2023

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 H1, 2023 (January-June)

  • Revenue EUR 336.4 (356.9 in 2022) million, -6%.
  • Shipping and Sea Transport Services generated revenue amounting to EUR 325.3 (343.8) million, of which passenger-related revenue was to EUR 31.5 (25.6) million.
  • The revenue of Port Operations was EUR 21.4 (24.8) million.
  • EBITDA EUR 89.6 (97.7) million, -8%.
  • Result for the reporting period EUR 41.9 (56.3) million, -26%.
  • Interest bearing debt declined by EUR 69.1 million and was EUR 387.8 (456.9) million at the end of the period.

Q2, 2023 (April-June)

  • Revenue EUR 173.2 (199.9 in 2022) million, -13%.
  • EBITDA amounted to EUR 44.1 (62.1) million, -29%.
  • Result for the reporting period EUR 20.3 (41.2) million, -51%.

Tom Pippingsköld, President and CEO, in conjunction with the review:

  • Economic growth is projected to be modest in the EU area in 2023, but some moderate improvement is forecasted for 2024.
  • According to the statistics of the Finnish Customs the total value of exports increased by 1%, but the value of imports decreased by 14.3% year-on-year (January–May 2023 vs. 2022).
  • Due to the war and high interest rate environment consumer and business confidence has remained below long-term average. Inflation is also expected to remain persistently high.
  • Lower import volumes have reduced cargo flows and together with lower bunker surcharge has affected Finnlines Group’s turnover.
  • Lower volumes in some of our routes forced us to either reduce the frequency or the number of vessels in the route. Thus, we decided to charter out one ro-ro to the Grimaldi Group. Moreover, we have reduced capacity where there are lower volumes, and increased capacity where we see and have growth.
  • Growth by opening new routes, the latest is the Sweden–Poland line where one ro-pax vessel is expected to start to operate daily between Malmö and Świnoujście in few weeks’ time.
  • Passenger business has increased very well after the pandemic.
  • The first of these new Superstar ro-pax vessels, FINNSIRIUS, was delivered on 18 July 2023, as scheduled, and will enter the Naantali–Långnäs–Kapellskär route in mid-September.
  • The second vessel, FINNCANOPUS, will follow by the end of the year.

Finnlines’ Financial review January–March 2023

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  • +4% Revenue MEUR 163.1 (157.0 in 2022)
  • +28% EBITDA MEUR 45.5 (35.6)
  • +42% Result MEUR 21.5 (15.1)
  • Interest bearing debt increased by MEUR 21.2 million and was MEUR 352.9 (331.7) at the end of the period.
  • Cargo volumes were on a satisfactory level regardless of the fact that Russian operations were already suspended in Q1 2022 and that there were strikes in ports and on railways in Finland in February. However, Finnlines’ passenger business has fully recovered after more than two years of travel restrictions.
  • Finnlines has further strengthened its liner network on its Belgium-Ireland freight service by adding a second ro-ro vessel, FINNPULP, on the Zeebrugge-Rosslare route in February.
  • A new port, Teesport, was added to the network when P&O Ferries chartered FINNPULP for three days a week.
  • Finnlines is preparing to open a new route between Malmö and Świnoujście.


A dining concept for Finnlines’ new ships: ”Each portion of food must have a story behind it”

By | 2023 Newsletter week 17 | No Comments

Finnlines started a close co-operation with Kespro, which supplies food services to Finnlines’ ships on the route between Finland and Sweden.

The co-operation between Finnlines and Kespro is part of the concept renewal for the Superstar ships. Passengers will be served food, which has been produced locally and sustainably.

The main themes of the Superstar dining concept are sustainability, domestic and local products and seasonal variations. The carbon footprint of restaurant services comes mainly from air emissions during primary production and this is why choice of suppliers is also an important environmental aspect.

Henri Alén, chef and restaurant keeper, well-known from TV, has been involved in designing menus for Fisherman’s Bistro, Barrel Bay and Micke’s À la carte restaurants.

“The shipboard restaurants have one common theme, which is not to compromise with different concepts. We will serve tasty treats from the Archipelago and experiences with an international touch. We work hard to serve food that is not fuel, but a culinary delight. Whether it is hot cereal in the morning, a pastry at a meeting or dinner in the evening – each serving must have a story behind it,” Alén says.

CRUISE SMERALDA transferred to Finnlines

By | 2023 Newsletter week 15 | No Comments

Ro-pax CRUISE SMERALDA, owned by Grimaldi Group, has just been just chartered out by Grimaldi Euromed to sister company Finnlines.

From the Italian port of Gioia Tauro, and after a stop in Antwerp, the 1997-built CRUISE SMERALDA arrived this week in Vlissingen, the Netherlands, before continuing to Malmö, Sweden.

CRUISE SMERALDA has a max capacity of 1,528 passengers and 819 cars (or 90 cars plus 125 trucks/trailers) and in the recent past had been operating on the motorways of the seas in the West Mediterranean and to/from the North Africa.

The ferry will replace other ferries on the Malmö-Travemünde link during their refurbishments.

“As early as this summer, there will be a new line between Sweden and Poland,” said Tom Pippingsköld in Swedish newspaper “Dagens Industri”. To be followed…