TT Line Circles Back to Rauma Shipyard for RoPax Pair
Finnish shipbuilder Rauma Marine Constructions (RMC) said on Wednesday that it has secured an order from Australian shipping company TT Line Company to build two car and passenger ferries at the Rauma shipyard.
The newbuild order comes after TT Line, also known as Spirit of Tasmania, withdrew from a previous memorandum of understanding (MOU) last July while the Tasmanian government-owned company investigated options to produce the vessels locally to help offset economic impacts from the coronavirus pandemic.
RMC revealed Wednesday that negotiations resumed in March this year, initiated by the Tasmanian government.
Jyrki Heinimaa, CEO of Rauma Marine Constructions, said, “We are very grateful for the trust shown to us by TT Line Company and their representatives. This agreement means that our customer believes that we can offer a world-class solution that is perfect for their business, even in challenging operating conditions.”
Construction is scheduled to begin in spring 2022, and the first vessel will be delivered to TT-Line in late 2023 followed by the second in late 2024.
While the vessels will not be built in Australia, TT Line's CEO, Bernard Dwyer, said the newbuilds will “make extensive use of the expertise of Tasmanian companies.”
Once completed, the1,800-passenger, 48,000-gross-ton ferries will operate on the Geelong–Devonport route running between mainland Australia and Tasmania. They will replace the Spirit of Tasmania I and II, both built in Finland in 1998.
RMC said the order marks a "positive signal" for its 2021 financial outlook and increases its order book to eight ships worth approximately €1.6 billion (US$1.9 billion). In addition to TT-Line’s vessels, RMC is building car and passenger ferries for Finnish shipping company Wasaline and Estonian shipping company Tallink, as well as four multipurpose corvettes for the Finnish Defense Forces.
In 2020, the company’s net sales more than quintupled to €220.1 million ($263.4 million) from €38.1 million ($45.6 million) in the previous year while operating profit rose to €6.7 million ($8 million), up from €1.9 million ($2.3 million) the year prior.
“The agreement with TT Line Company is an excellent continuation of RMC’s growth story and last year’s good result,” Heinimaa said. “We will continue on our set growth path to build car and passenger ferries in Rauma, which also means stable growth in the shipbuilding industry in Finland. Last year, we strengthened our personnel by almost 50%, meaning our organization is more than ready for a new 3,500-person-year project.”
The shipyard is currently working at full capacity with increased health and safety measures after the company was forced to shut down production in February due to a cluster of coronavirus infections among its workforce.