PHOTOS OF THE WEEK

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The Birth of AURORA BOTNIA   

Production of Wasaline’s new ropax ferry continues uninterrupted at Rauma shipyard

“We are starting to put together the last blocks and the construction of the hull, as well as the fitting of the machine rooms and car decks, is proceeding at a rapid pace. A total of seven of AURORA BOTNIA’s blocks will be delivered from Gdansk in Poland, of which three arrived at the end of April. We are currently fitting the blocks that were delivered,” says Johanna Kaijo, Project Manager of the newbuilding NB6002.

The next significant phase in the construction of Aurora Botnia is the launch of the vessel in the autumn.

FERRY SHIPPING

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DFDS Optimises Seaways Following Changes in Northern Baltic Market Conditions

The schedule on the Estonia-Sweden route (Paldiski-Kapellskär) has been improved by offering both freight customers and passengers more attractive evening departures and morning arrivals through the week. Evening departures in both directions will now be possible every day by the addition of a second vessel.

This improvement is enabled by a halving of sailings between Paldiski and Hanko (Finland) following reduced demand on this route. This allows the ropax SAILOR on the route to be deployed on both Paldiski-Hanko and Paldiski-Kapellskär. On the latter it will sail in addition to OPTIMA SEAWAYS.

In addition, a freight agreement has been entered into with Eckerö Line on the freight route between Muuga (Tallinn) and Vuosaari (Helsinki). (vessel: FINBO CARGO)

The agreement starts from the end of April 2020.

With these changes, a total of 30 departures per week between Estonia and Finland can be offered to DFDS’ customers.

Flensburger Shipyard FSG Filed for Bankruptcy to Save the Company

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On Friday 24 April 2020, FSG went into self-administration.

German insolvency law offers companies the option of restructuring in insolvency procedures under their own management. This is so-called self-administration.

Owner Lars Windhorst said the yard would continue to build ships. Together with management and employees, he sees a future for the company. Now a sustainable concept has to be found.

A new managing director has been appointed. It is Martin Hammer (LinkedIn), who is expected to come up with a plan in four to six weeks. He think work can restart in early summer.

The problem seems to be the reluctance of the State Schleswig-Holstein to support the yard with guarantees. “Taxpayers’ money should not be risked for a company that is in trouble,” said Minister of Economics Bernd Buchholz. “First the yard needs to get out of the insolvency, then we can talk.”

Mr Windhorst told the German press that “investing money in a contract where you know you will lose money is not a responsible thing to do as an entrepreneur.” He added that a ship can only be built, “if we can assume that no money will be lost here.” He did not mention which ferry he was talking about. (Brittany Ferries? Irish Ferries?)

The contract for two ferries for Spirit of Tasmania have been cancelled earlier.

From what Ferry Shipping News understands, it seems the yard is negotiating an order for 4 roro ships from previous owner SIEM.

Hellenic Ministry of Shipping Provides EUR 33,7 Million for Coastal Shipping and Island Entrepreneurship

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The Hellenic Ministry of Shipping and Island Policy decided to provide more than EUR 33.7 million in liquidity to coastal shipping, as well as island entrepreneurship, in order to alleviate them from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Specifically, it was decided:

  • Support island businesses -eligible for the transport equivalent- with EUR 11,2 million.
  • An additional EUR 15 million has been secured to ensure maritime transport services to the island regions. Since the implementation of the relevant ministerial decision, EUR 3.5 million have already been contracted for the minimum shipping service of the island areas in 29 lines of the national and local shipping network.
  • Advance payment equal to 50% of the leases for public service contracts in coastal shipping for the months February, March and April. The Ministry estimates that this amount will reach EUR 7.5 million.

Moby’s Seasoned Ferry GIRAGLIA up for Sale and Likely to be Scrapped

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The 1981-built ferry Giraglia owned by Moby Group is being circulated by several ship brokers as the Onorato-controlled company put the asset up for sale.

One of the messages circulated on the market reports that, following the grounding which took place recently in front of the port of Santa Teresa di Gallura, ship’s bottom and its relevant structures found are damaged with hull longitudinal breach. The vessel, which was deployed on the route between the north of Sardinia (Santa Teresa di Gallura) to the south of Corsica (Bonifacio) is indeed defined as “to be repaired”. Given its age (almost 40 years) the GIRAGLIA may be sold for scrap.

Regarding the ongoing negotiation with the creditors, the Italian financial newspaper IlSole24Ore reported this week that Moby is in advanced talks with the banks and the bondholders to restructure the company’s debt under the 182-bis procedure insolvency law.

MSC Deal with Ignazio Messina Postponed Again

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The closing of the deal which should make MSC a49% shareholder of the Genoa-based Ignazio Messina & C. has been postponed again. It will not take place before the end of April as previously announced. The previous deadline was March 31, and was already postponed due to some details still to be defined between the banks and the companies involved.

This time it seems that the cause may refers to the coronavirus emergency as MSC, apart from the malware attack to its website, is sailing in stormy waters both in the container and in the cruise business segments. MSC Cruises for instance announced that all the investments scheduled for the next 18 months would be stopped where possible.

Several market observers in Italy suggest that Gianluigi Aponte may have decided to take some more time before signing this new investment in the roro and conro vessels operator.

Through the Italian holding Marinvest, MSC should invest EUR 25 million for a 49% stake in the Ignazio Messina & C. group and a 52% stake in a new-co called Ro-Ro Italia controlling four of Messina’s eight modern conro ships. All eight vessels are linked to a EUR 487 millions debt with the local Banca Carige and classified as unlikely to pay.

FERRY FINANCE

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Scandlines 2019: Solid Results Despite Traffic Decline

Scandlines says its operational efficiency was strong, and the group’s two ferry routes completed more than 41,500 departures and transported 7.2 million passengers.

Soft economic indicators in Sweden and Germany resulted in a slight drop in traffic volume.

In the meanwhile, the company continued to build a more competitive business through investing in green initiatives and further strengthening the group’s financing.

Revenue from the two ferry routes was unchanged at EUR 352 million despite a moderate decline across traffic segments following years of growth in the freight business in particular. BorderShop revenue saw a minor decline to EUR 124 million (2018: EUR 125 million) as leisure travel declined slightly and fewer Swedes visited the group’s BorderShops due to the weak Swedish currency.

Group profitability remained steady in 2019 as Scandlines generated profit from ordinary activities (recurring EBITDA) of EUR 188 million (2018: EUR 191 million) corresponding to an unchanged recurring EBITDA margin of 40 percent. The solid profitability level was secured mainly by means of cost control measures compensating for the lower traffic volumes during the year.

Scandlines continues to see potential for improvement in the coming years as efforts continue to optimise and develop the business.

Stena 2019: “To be resilient in bad times is the reason why we are so diversified”

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“Covid-19 has changed the World fast,” says Dan Sten Olsson in the preface of Stena’s annual report. He reminds that it is the fifth slump in economic

activity in his carreer.

He believes many of the people made redundant will not be reemployed when times get better.

“Transporting freight and fewer passengers, with reduced sailing frequency is our present state of affairs.” During this crisis Stena will have disposed of older tonnage and introduced efficient new vessels.

Stena Bulk is booming but the Stena drilling fleet faces difficult times.

The number of ships owned by Stena RoRo has been decreased. Only a few and small valued ships are open for charter, says Mr Olsson.

Stena RoRo stands for 2% share of total income.

Stena Line for 38%.

Olsson concludes by saying that he doesn’t fear inflation. “For as long as there is a good supply of goods, I do not see that happening. Distribution including transportation will hence be very crucial.”

Stena Teknik is working on STENA ELEKTRA (photo), an advanced, fully-electric ferry. The company hopes to see it entering service in 2030, latest.

Key figures Stena Line

EBITDA +16% (3,482 MSEK) = all time high EBITDA, mainly due to increased car volumes, passenger- and freight volumes.

Operating Result -5% (1,320 MSEK)

Key figures RoRo

EBITDA -9% (291 MSEK)

Operating Result -28% (316 MSEK)