EnvironmentEuropeMaritime CEORegulatory

Viking Line: Grappling with ECAs

Helsinki: For Jan Hanses 2015 is all about getting used to operating within an emissions control area, The ceo of ferry firm, Viking Line, has six of his seven vessels sailing in the new Baltic ECA which came into being on January 1. These ships are now running on marine gas oil, the cost of which will hit the line for an additional EUR10-15m this year alone, according to Hanses. Viking Line’s 2013-built Viking Grace is the exception to the rest of the fleet. It is the first vessel on the Baltic Sea – and the first large passenger vessel in the world – to be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Hanses reckons green solutions for shipping are still few and far between.
“Scrubbers require considerable investments,” he says, adding that they are still not a relevant solution in their current form.
Viking runs routes between Finland, Sweden, Estonia and Åland combining different types of cruises and conferences with service and freight traffic.
The additional costs come at a time where revenues have become, in Hanses words, “strained”.
Despite a record 6.6m passengers last year tough market conditions still prevail, not made any easier by the adverse economic conditions in Finland which have effected the pattern of consumption. During 2014 this had a negative impact on net sales revenue per passenger.
“In our region, the northern Baltic Sea, there is overcapacity for the moment and the competition between the ferry operators is tough,” Hanses admits.
“The future aim,” he says, “is to further strengthen our market position in the existing target markets, keeping a close eye on the growing markets of the world and broadening our operations in the international markets.” [19/01/15]

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