Finnlines remains true to the goal of its foundation despite today's turbulent waters
Finnlines was established in 1947 as part of a wider effort to reconnect Finnish society and industry with neighbouring countries following the devastation of World War II. This mission has held true into the 21st century, the Company invested in newer and newer vessels generations and grew up in its role; Finnlines transports today a third of the 1 million trucks bringing goods from Finland to Europe and back every year.
The network has expanded – Europe, Russia and the rest of the world are today accessible to Finnish exporters and importers via the larger Grimaldi Group network – but Finnlines’ vital, market-leading position still means it is incumbent upon us to act responsibly and to fulfil the role acquired by the Company in Finland and in the Baltic.
The 21 vesels we operate are among the best you'll find plying the Baltic Sea in terms of size, efficiency and CO2 footprint. All vessels trading between Finland and the rest of Europe fly the Finnish flag.
Our ongoing investments prove we keep on responding to the demands of society. A series of three ro-ro vessels will join the fleet over the next two years, thereby improving our economies of scale and tonne-kilometre efficiency. A further two ro-pax vessels capable of carrying 1,100 passengers each are scheduled to arrive in 2023.
These vessels come with the latest in green technology: emissions abatement systems known as scrubbers; battery packs reducing emissions to zero while in port; and hulls made all the more streamlined thanks to a fine coating of bubbles. We are in total investing EUR 700 million in equipment, retrofits and newbuildings.
We have become the market leader by relying on our own efforts and entrepreneurship. We ask for nothing from public authorities other than the chance to compete on an even playing field without distortion.
It is therefore with a certain regret that we feel obliged to report that public authorities have in recent months distorted the competitive landscape via aid to certain operators.
Severe revenue losses during the virus lockdown spared no one and ranged from 20% to 80% on some trades. Carriers have had to bear the additional costs of heightened sanitation measures. Finnlines and others have reimbursed passenger tickets and introduced new crew procedures to reduce the risk of exposure.
All vessels trading between
Finland and the rest of Europe
fly the Finnish flag.
Unlike other groups, however, we have not laid up vessels. Despite the losses, services have continued unaltered. It is therefore disappointing to witness certain authorities, in defiance of EU rules, give our competitors what amounts to unearned income. If support for the marketplace is required, there are ways for these subsidies to be distributed fairly and in proportion to services rendered. A reduction in port fees, by way of example, would distort the market less than selective aid to certain companies.
Despite our determination to keep essential supply lines open, subsidies to our competitors have triggered yet more imbalances because state-supported services have depressed rates further. We have been penalised with reduced revenues for a second time.
No matter: Finnlines has broad shoulders. We will navigate these turbulent waters with the same honesty and self-sufficiency that has served us so well until now. We will keep serving our markets with the same energy and commitment as before, true to the goal laid down more than 70 years ago.
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