Finnlines has in recent years been one of the star performers in the Grimaldi constellation, posting a series of consecutive first class financial figures. The third quarter of this year was no exception.
Revenue for the quarter was up around 10% to EUR 145 million. Year to date revenues in September increased by the same percentage up to EUR 405 million.
In response to growing volumes and thanks to continued profitability, we are expanding the Finnlines fleet. The MS Europalink was in 2013 sold by Finnlines to the parent company because of insufficient volumes in the Baltic. Growth forecasts were revised downwards following the 2008 crisis and some routes were over-tonnaged. Since that time however, volume trends have reversed, and we are now happy to announce that the Europalink will be rejoining Finnlines early next year on the Germany / Sweden trade.
As an ice-class vessel with Scandinavian-standard passenger facilities, including saunas, she is ideally suited to the colder northern climes. She is being retrofitted with closed-loop-ready scrubbers on all engines, as well as a wash-water filtration system. As a result, she will produce lower levels of air emissions (sulphur dioxide, particulate matter) than ships running on low-sulphur fuel.
Slotting the vessel back into the Finnlines rotation will also trigger reshuffling elsewhere in the network. The MS Nordlink, which boasts more than 4,200 lane metres, 200 cabins and a capacity for 500 cars, will be redeployed on routes be-tween Finland and Sweden, where customers have invited us to increase capacity. The Nordlink will be one of the first ships of this size plying the trade between the two countries.
Capacity increases do not stop there. We have already engaged in an over EUR 40 million ship-lengthening programme at a Polish yard. Four of our Jinling-built vessels will as a result enjoy a capacity increase of 30%, meaning they will be able to carry up to 4,000 lane metres of rolling cargo. Work is already underway and is set to be completed by the middle of next year, after which we have the option to lengthen another two vessels.
Such is the size and flexibility of the Grimaldi Group fleet that we can ensure customers that these upgrades will take place without frequency disruptions.
As some of you might have read in the trade press, we are investing heavily not just in Finnlines but across the whole Group. In September, we announced orders for six ro-ro new-builds and four options, bringing the Group’s ongoing capital expenditure programme to over EUR 2 billion. These ships will boast innovative designs such as an air lubrication system creating bubble layers beneath the hull to reduce friction and consumption, as well as solar panels, electrical pumping systems, hydrodynamic bulb-shaped hulls, and pitch-propeller systems.
We believe environmental investments, and fuel efficiency in particular, will determine which players survive, and which thrive, in the markets of tomorrow. Old, polluting, inefficient tonnage will be forced out, to the benefit of those who have thought ahead.
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