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  • Annual Report 2023, Strategy and business

Shipping and sea transport services

Finnlines offers 170 weekly departures to different parts of Europe. Our high-frequency, broad route network, large freight capacity, and digital services are designed to enhance customer satisfaction and streamline business operations. In 2023, Finnlines focused on environmental matters and emission reduction.

During the year under review, Finnlines prioritised environmental matters, implementing operational adjustments in traffic with the idea of “less time at port, more time at sea”. This initiative aimed at reducing emissions for the emission trading scheme starting in 2024.

The EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) has implications for both the Finnlines’ operations and costs. In the past, the introduction of new regulations has caused additional costs, but Finnlines has and will continue to make every effort to minimise the cost impact on customers and maintain competitive freight rates.

This commitment is evident in the company’s investment in cutting-edge vessels equipped with state-of-the-art environmental technology. Furthermore, we are consistently taking measures to decrease our dependency on fossil fuels. As part of our sustainable strategy, we are actively working on a gradual transition to alternative fuels.

The Shipping and Sea Transport segment’s revenues totalled EUR 659.5 (712.1 in 2022) million, and it employed 1,465 (1,373) people on average.

Finnlines transports a third of the 1 million trucks carrying goods between Finland, Sweden, and Continental Europe every year. In 2023, Finnlines transported 710,000 cargo units, 157,000 cars (not including passengers’ cars) and 1,344,000 tons of non-unitised freight. In total, 695,000 passengers travelled with us.

Finnlines’ roro- services

Finnlines offers regular ro-ro liner services in the Baltic Sea between Finland and ports in Continental Europe and Scandinavia, in the North Sea between Finland and ports in Great Britain and Belgium, as well as in the Bay of Biscay between Finland and ports in Spain. Furthermore, Finnlines offers a direct connection from Ireland to Continental Europe. By transshipment in Zeebrügge, the Irish connection is available to cargo to and from Finland, Estonia, Germany, and Spain.

The Biscay Line is a multipurpose service designed to meet the needs of industrial cargo. The service provides weekly connections from Finland to Spain, passing through Estonia, Germany and Belgium. Ad-hoc connections are also possible in case of need, along with the option to link to the Grimaldi network.

The vessels deployed are the latest ro-ro units built by Finnlines, the Finneco series. This state-of-the-art ships offer significant cargo flexibility and, with enhanced economy of scale, result in the lowest carbon emission per ton transported. This achievement is made possible through extensive use of new technologies such as lithium-ion batteries, solar panels, air bubble lubrification system etc.

As an agent for Grimaldi Lines and Atlantic Container Line (ACL) in Finland, Finnlines connects via Antwerp Helsinki and Kotka in Finland, Paldiski in Estonia and Travemünde in Germany with the Grimaldi Group network in the Mediterranean, West Africa, North and South America, as well as Asia and Australia.

Finnlines’ ro-pax services

The high frequency ro-pax lines cover the services between Finland and Sweden, Finland and Germany and Sweden and Germany.

Three Star-class vessels operate on the route between Helsinki and Travemünde, offering daily departures from both directions. The service strengthened its position as the largest carrier of unitised cargo between Finland and Germany compared to the previous year. For passengers, this route is the only direct maritime connection between Finland and Continental Europe.

The route between Malmö, Sweden, and Travemünde, Germany, offers 24 weekly departures in both directions, with an average intake capacity of over 1,000 cargo units per day.

In 2023, the service experienced significant improvements during autumn through the redeployment of a Star-class vessel Europalink. This upgrade increased both cargo and passenger capacity by over 30 per cent, with three ro-pax vessels now operating on the route.

Finnlines’ punctual, high-frequency service, and fast nine-hour voyage, ensure efficient transport services and intermodal solutions between Sweden and Germany.

The route from Naantali via Långnäs to Kapellskär serves as a crucial maritime bridge between Finland and Sweden, ensuring the security of supply. During the reviewed period, major efforts were undertaken to enhance the service quality along this important route. The first Superstar-class vessel Finnsirius entered traffic in September and the second vessel, Finncanopus, will start operating on the same route in February 2024. These modern cruise-standard vessels will elevate service quality and significantly boost cargo capacity, setting a new milestone in ro-pax service between Finland and Sweden.

Together, the two Superstar-class vessels provide a daily capacity for more than 1,200 cargo units, more than sufficient to accommodate all lorry and trailer volumes crossing between Finland and Sweden.