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Finnlines: A vital artery of Finland’s economy

Finnlines is an iconic brand across the Baltic, and it is a happy coincidence that the Company’s 70th anniversary party on board one of our Star Class vessels last month fell in the same year that Finland is celebrating the centenary of its independence. Our carrier’s history and that of its home nation are intimately intertwined. 

The birthday celebration, about which you can read more inside, brought together shareholders and employees, both former and current, as well as clients and Finnish civil society. Party-goers – there were more than 1,000 – were not only celebrating the Company’s longevity, they were enjoying the fruits of a remarkable turnaround.

Finnlines was heavily battered by the financial storm of 2009 and 2010. But thanks to careful management and a successful investment programme, our carrier today once again occupies its rightful position as a pillar of the Finnish economy and its coastal trades.

With 170 freight departures and 80 passenger departures every week, Finnlines is one of Finland’s vital economic arteries. Its roots are in the raw materials and forestry products industries, though it has adapted over the years to the extent that the fleet today ships everything from cars to steel, canned drinks and flowers, and of course passengers; every year we carry around 300,000 holiday-makers, business travellers and truck drivers from Finland to Sweden, Sweden to Germany, Germany to Finland, and back.

While now part of Italy’s Grimaldi Group, it could be argued that Finnlines has seldom been as ‘Finnish’ as it is today. A decade ago, Finnlines owned 14 ships, of which just six flew the Finnish flag. Today, the Company owns 22, of which 18 fly the Finnish flag. Over the same period, the number of Finnish crew has increased from 292 to 640. Seventy percent of the Company’s 1,653 employees are based in Finland.

The financial muscle made available by the parent Group has enabled investments that have had a positive knock-on effect for Finnish suppliers, such as Deltamarine, Foreship, and Cargotec Group. Our vessels are powered by more than 200 Wärtsilä engines, both main and auxiliary. We have acquired 460 pieces of marine equipment from Kalmar. Finnlines management actively participates in government committees designed to boost technological innovation.

We have played our role in the greening of Finnish society too, by investing EUR 100 million in technology designed to reduce ship emissions and fuel consumption.

As part of the ‘Finland 100 years’ celebration we are this year raising funds via a series of events to support the Aamu Foundation, which specialises in oncological research for children.

Finnlines was born in 1947 as a subsidiary of Merivienti, a state-owned exporter of forest industry products to the Western bloc. After a EUR 1 billion capex programme, and more recently a EUR 70 million ‘jumboisation’ or vessel lengthening scheme, Finland’s flagship is stronger today than ever before. Enjoy this issue of Finnlines News.

Today, 18 Finnlines vessels fly the Finnish flag. The number of Finnish crew has increased and 70% of the company’s 1,653 employees are based in Finland.