Editorial

A highway made of water

Shortsea services such as those offered by Finnlines are, as is widely known, a crucial lifeline for the logistics industry of northern European countries.

Recent months have given us more proof of this. While road transport – our principal competitor – has been orced to battle with a perfect storm of supply chain problems, shortsea operators have managed to maintain reliability and service quality.

SHIPPERS THAT OVERRELY ON ROAD HAULAGE have had a hard time. The widely reported shortage of drivers has been compounded by the Covid crisis, which has not only reduced driver availability but also increased the bureaucracy involved with cross-border ship-ments (as has Brexit).

In some cases, drivers cannot be found at all, threatening service viability.

WHEN YOU FACTOR IN THE INCREASED DEMAND FOR DRIVERS due to the sharp surge in e-commerce, and then add in higher fuel prices, the occasional imposition of driver quotas by EU trading partners, and EU legislation on worker protection such as rest hours (which increases the number of drivers required per trailer unit) you can see why hauliers are themselves struggling with increased logistics costs.

VACCINATION PASSES AND RELATED ADMINISTRATIVE BURDENS (not to mention the risks of infection) drive up lead times and thereby also increase the need for drivers, in something of a vicious spiral.

ROLL-ON ROLL-OFF SERVICES, BY COMPARISON, HAVE REMAINED EFFICIENT. Rather than have to manage a logistics operation involving hundreds of drivers, shippers and forwarders can trust their cargo to a ferry, ro-pax or ro-ro crew that is just a few dozen strong. Reliance on road haulage, and the depleted pool of drivers, can thereafter be reduced to the last mile. 

IT IS ALSO WORTH COMPARING RO-RO TO CONTAINERISED SERVICES, which have suffered from poor schedule reliability for most of this year. Shippers have complained consistently of unfair practices and a lack of availability on liner services. Rates have skyrocketed amid port congestion.
Finnlines services have on the other hand suffered limited disruption. Punctuality and reliability levels have remained high.

On a tonnekilometre basis, there’s no beating shortsea services.

OUR SERVICES ARE COMPETITIVE ON ALL FRONTS, and freight intermediaries who opt for Finnlines are also contributing to Europe’s green goals.

THE RECENT GOVERNMENTAL ‘COP’ TALKS IN SCOTLAND have once again put the spotlight on the need to reduce emissions. On a tonnekilometre basis, there’s no beating shortsea services.
Readers of previous editions of Finnlines News will know that we continue to invest in larger ships that boast cuttingedge energy-saving technology. Our carbon footprint on a tonne-kilometre basis ontinues to improve, both relative to road haulage and relative to other ship operators.
One vessel engine can replace over 400 trucks.

SHIPPERS ARE INCREASINGLY TURNING ON TO THESE ADVANTAGES. Traditional users of the Via Balitica road route from Russia into mainland Europe, to give just one example, are coming over to Finnlines. Freight intermediaries know there are savings to be made not only in terms of tonnekilometres but also, on certain routes, in terms of the absolute number of kilometres travelled.

AFTER THE CONTAINERISATION REVOLUTION OF THE LAST FIVE DECADES, we believe we are today witnessing the ‘trailerisation’ revolution. Finnlines, and the other companies in the Grimaldi Group, are set to benefit.
Elsewhere in this edition, you can find the latest company news on cargo handling, alternative fuel vehicles, and our newbuildings. Happy reading.