16.12.2019 14:18:54 //
Tuula Palaste

Viking increases cargo on its Turku–Stockholm route

Keeping port operations in Katajanokka is vital for Viking Line’s business.

President and CEO Jan Hanses says that passenger traffic accounts for about 85 per cent of the company’s net sales, while cargo accounts for the remaining 15 per cent. All of the company’s vessels transport both passengers and cargo. 

“Although it sounds as if cargo accounts for only a small share, it is an extremely important share with regard to our financial result. I agree with Keronen: transferring passenger traffic to Vuosaari is unrealistic.”  

Moving shipping out of the city centre is not a welcome idea, especially with regard to the Helsinki-Stockholm route. Hanses thinks that Helsinki would lose a lot of its attraction as a tourist destination. 

Viking Line is monitoring the growth in cargo, but will not be investing in a cargo ship with the current outlook. 

“The ship we already have under construction in China has a greater cargo capacity than Amorella (the ship it will be replacing).  It has more than twice the cargo capacity of Amorella, which we intend to sell.” 

The main route for Viking Line’s cargo is between Finland and Sweden: two thirds of cargo traffic run  between Turku and Stockholm. 

Occasionally, there is also congestion in Katajanokka when ships arrive and depart. 

“But we don’t think there are any insurmountable traffic problems in Katajanokka, and believe the situation will remain unchanged in the near future. We’re on good terms with residents and there’s no fierce opposition among the locals.” 

Both ports are important for Tallink

In the Tallink Group’s business model, it is also impossible to completely separate cargo from passenger traffic. 

“We have several departures on the Helsinki-Tallinn route every day. Our Tuesday-evening ferry, for example, would in no way be profitable without cargo. Although there are fewer passengers, the cargo makes it profitable to run. Completely removing cargo from passenger ships would lead to substantial price increases and fewer departures,” says Tallink Silja’s CEO Margus Schults.

The company currently operates a Muuga–Vuosaari cargo route with one ship. The aim is to transport as much of the company’s cargo as possible on the Vuosaari–Muuga route, but the route’s capacity is still open. 

“The Helsinki-Tallinn route will be getting a new ship in early 2022. MyStar will focus on passenger traffic, and will be built in Finland at the RMC dock in Rauma. Both Megastar and MyStar will therefore operate on this route from early 2022, but no official decisions have yet been made concerning Star’s fate. There are still many options open to us.”

 Schults also considers it important to keep passenger ports in the city centre.

 “Passengers bring not only direct income to the city, but also indirect income and employment. This fact is sometimes forgotten when the shortcomings are raised.” 

Schults also stresses that spikes in traffic congestion are brief.

“Our company’s ships arrive and depart around the clock, and only certain arrivals occur at times when traffic is otherwise congested.”