‘Finnsirius’, the first of two new ropaxes, was delivered to Finnlines at the China Merchants Jinling Shipyard in Weihai, China, on 18th July, 2023.
She will enter the company’s Finland/Sweden (Naantali–Långnäs–Kapellskär) route in September, 2023.
The second vessel, ‘Finncanopus’, is expected to be delivered by the end of this year. The two ships will be the largest ropaxes in the Finnlines fleet.
Cargo capacity per vessel will increase by nearly 24% to 5,200 lane metres and passenger capacity will double from 554 to 1,100 accommodated in 323 cabins.
The two ropaxes are part of Finnlines €500 mill ‘green’ newbuilding programme, which involves both ropax and ro-ro vessels, all equipped with sustainable systems.
In addition, three new hybrid ro-ro vessels started operating last summer.
“Finnlines’ green newbuilding programme has been a massive investment, which will benefit our freight customers and private passengers. These hybrid ropax vessels are not only the largest in the company’s fleet so far, but they transport cargo in a more sustainable manner.
“For example, the vessels have been equipped with enormous high-powered battery banks and onshore power supply in order to have zero emissions while in port. In addition, port operations will also be more efficient with auto-mooring.
“Smooth freight traffic in the Baltic Sea is the backbone of the region’s economies and national security of supply. For example, around 90% of both Finnish and Swedish exports and imports are carried along shipping routes.
“Finnlines combines cargo with passenger traffic in this Naantali–Långnäs–Kapellskär route, and therefore our investment will strengthen services to our freight customers as well as to our passengers,” explained Tom Pippingsköld, President and CEO of Finnlines.
“Finnlines is proud to introduce the first Superstar and ‘Finnsirius’ will be Finnlines’ flagship in both size and technology.
“As the Superstar ropax vessels enter traffic, we will further increase economies of scale to support new business development and opportunities for our freight customers. In addition, we will be able to offer upgraded services for passengers, including several themed restaurants, a wide range of cabin categories, meeting rooms, a large shop, lounges, to name a few,” added Antonio Raimo, Finnlines’ Line Manager.
The two vessels are 235.6 m long, 33.3 m beam with a gt of 65,692 each. They have been built to Ice Class 1A Super.
They are fitted with an air lubrication system, battery packs, an exhaust gas abatement system, onshore power connections, auto-mooring systems, waste heat recovery systems and ballast water treatment equipment.
Finnlines also reported that for the first half of this year, the Group revenue was €336.4 mill, a fall of 6% on the 1H22 figure of €356.9 mill.
Shipping and Sea Transport Services division generated revenue of €325.3 mill, compared to €343.8 mill in 1H22. Of this total, passenger related revenue was €31.5 mill, compared to €25.6 mill in the corresponding period of 2022.
Port operations revenue was €21.4 mill, compared to €24.8 mill in 1H22.
EBITDA was €89.6 mill, compared to €97.7 mill in 1H22, while the net result was €41.9 mill, compared to €56.3 mill.
Interest bearing debt dropped by €69.1 mill to total €387.8 mill at the end of 1H23.
Pippingsköld said that EU area economic growth is forecast to be modest this year but improvement could be seen in 2024.
Due to the Russia/Ukraine war and high interest rates, consumer and business confidence has remained below the long term average. Inflation is also expected to remain persistently high.
Lower import volumes has reduced cargo flows and together with a lower bunker surcharge, this has affected Finnlines’ turnover.
However, the passenger business has increased well after the pandemic, he said.