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Our history

70 Years of Experience

Finnlines has maintained a vital bridge to Continental Europe for Finnish exporters and importers for 70 years. During the past ten years, the Company has focused on developing business operations, renewed the fleet and invested in new efficient technology. Finnlines stands now as a frontrunner in the Baltic Sea.

Oy Finnlines Ltd was founded in 1947 for the purpose of managing the vessels and traffic of Merivienti Oy, a company owned by the Finnish forest industry and trade sector. Finnlines became an international shipping company, operating throughout the Baltic Sea, the North Sea and the Bay of Biscay. For decades, Finnlines also sailed routes to the United States up until 1976.

Finnlines started to provide passenger services in 1962, when MS Hansa Express began sailing between Hanko, Gotland and Travemünde. The first year clearly demonstrated the need for this kind of new service – direct passenger and car ferry connection to Continental Europe. In those days, passenger traffic was almost completely confined to the summer season. Nowadays Finnlines’ passenger-freight vessels provide services from Finland to Germany and via the Åland Islands to Sweden as well as from Sweden to Germany. 

Over the years, the Company has introduced several “next generation” innovations, such as a new kind of gas turbine vessel Finnjet in the mid-1970s,  the “jumbo” ro-ro vessel Arcturus in 1982, the new ro-pax vessels Finnstar, Finnmaid, Finnlady and Nordlink in 2006–2007, and last but not least the state-of-the-art ro-ro vessels Finnbreeze, Finnsea, Finnsky, Finnsun, Finntide and Finnwave in 2011–2012. In recent years, Finnlines has invested considerably in environmental technology and the fleet has undergone a large number of improvements: exhaust gas scrubber installations, propulsion upgrades and rebladings and silicone anti-fouling. All these measures improve ship efficiency and have a positive, long-lasting impact on the environment. In 2016, Finnlines’ ro-pax vessels underwent a thorough refurbishment in the public areas and now even better satisfy the passengers’ needs.

The new era began in 2005, when the Italian Grimaldi Group set foot in Finnlines. The Grimaldi Group has accumulated its shares and voting rights to 30.5 per cent by July 2006 and decisively increased its holding in the coming years. In August 2016, the Grimaldi Group completed the acquisition of Finnlines thus gaining control of 100 per cent of the Company and is now the sole owner. As a result, trading in Finnlines shares on Nasdaq Helsinki Ltd was terminated.

With more than 170 weekly freight departures and 80 passenger departures, Finnlines today provides efficient shipping services – stronger than ever.

Finnlines history

History timeline

Our history - From 1947 to the present.

Finnlines flag and funnel marks

Historical publications