Finnlines Adds Two New RoPax Vessels Between Sweden and Finland
Finnlines will make major investments in its route between Sweden and mainland Finland via Åland during 2023 as the freight and passenger shipping company continues to bounce back from the pandemic slowdown.
The company announced on Tuesday that it is introducing two new Superstar cargo-passenger vessels as part of general plans for increasing passenger comfort on the Kapellskär–Långnäs–Naantali route, with the first ro-pax vessel set to start operating on the route in autumn 2023.
The new vessels Finnsirius and Finncanopus are part of Finnlines EUR 500 million investment program, which comprises both ro-pax and ro-ro vessels. Each of them will have a capacity of 1,100 passengers, which is about twice as many as the existing ro-pax vessels on the route. The cargo capacity will also increase, from just over 4,000 lane meters to 5,200 lane meters.
Antonio Raimo, Line Manager at Finnlines, said, “Our service between Sweden and Finland has been very popular with customers. Increasing cargo and passenger capacity and improving passenger comfort on the route will strengthen the service and reinforce Finnlines as the main maritime service provider between the two countries. As the Superstar ro-pax vessels enter the traffic, we will further increase economies of scale to support new business development and opportunities for our customers.”
Finnlines, which is scheduled to publish its January–September 2022 results in November, said its preliminary passenger traffic figures show that the company has recovered well from the pandemic, with passenger volumes expected to increase to all-time highs.
“We expect a continuously strong demand both in freight and passenger services, which will be accelerated by the new Superstar ro-pax vessels that serve a wider market segment and substantially better meet our customers demand. Our aim is to offer the necessary capacity at all times with optimal schedules,” Raimo said.
Finnlines has two daily departures from both ports and the travel time from Kapellskär to Naantali is only 8–9 hours.
Marco Palmu, Head of Passenger Services at Finnlines, said, “The new generation Superstar ro-pax vessels will combine modern travel comfort with the premium freight services for which Finnlines is renowned. We intend to offer the most convenient and easiest way to travel by sea between Sweden, the Åland Islands and mainland Finland. The unique Baltic Sea archipelago is present throughout the travel experience and our passengers will be able to take in the maritime atmosphere with all their senses.”
According to Finnlines, the new vessels will feature high-quality restaurants, a sauna and spa section, business and lounge facilities, extensive shopping areas and a variety of other services. The scenic views of the archipelago have been central in the design of the vessels, that also features stylish interiors by the leading finish interior design studio dSign Vertti Kivi, specializing in ambience design.
Green values are not only emphasized in the technical construction of the vessels, but also in the interior design where recycled and ecological material choices are considered throughout the design process. Intelligent LED lightning management and smart air controlling system save energy by automatically adjusting lightning and air conditioning in the cabins. Low energy consumption is also taken into account in the equipment and furniture choices, for example by using furniture made from recycled materials. Printed products, such as menus, travel programs and price lists, will be replaced by digital self-service screens and smartphone apps. This will minimize paper waste.
The new ro-pax vessels are part of Finnlines’ EUR 500 million Newbuilding Program which has increased capacity and upgraded the existing fleet.
Finnlines’ President and CEO Tom Pippingsköld, said, “Smooth freight traffic in the Baltic Sea is the backbone of the region’s economies and national security of supply. For example, around 90 per cent of both Finnish and Swedish exports and imports are carried along shipping routes. Finnlines’ concept is to combine cargo with passenger traffic, and our Newbuilding Program will further strengthen our business model. By optimizing the use of our capacity, we increase the utilization rate and make our vessels more efficient and sustainable, This is also supported by investments in energy efficiency and other state-of-the art green technologies.”