Published in the Aboard online magazine 29.5.2018
Lengthening was a response to increased demand
MS Finntide was the first vessel in Finnlines’ lengthening programme. The next vessel back in operation after lengthening at the same Polish shipyard was MS Finnwave which arrived in Turku for the first time at the beginning of February.
”The Finnlines lengthening programme was initiated by a positive change in the market conditions. As imports and exports gradually picked up, we needed added capacity to be able to respond to our customers’ needs. The lengthening of the vessels was the quickest solution for reaching our goals, as the lengthening of one vessel at the shipyard took less than two months. We have an agreement with the Polish shipyard for the lengthening of four Breeze class vessels, the last two being delivered in the autumn”, says Merja Kallio-Mannila, Head of Sales at Finnlines Plc.
Decrease in fuel costs and emissions
The docking went even better than expected, because the Remontowa shipyard has previous expertise and experience in lengthening of vessels. As planned, the vessel was cut in two and a 30-metre section was inserted between the parts, after which the sections were welded together again.
”As a result of the lengthening, the cargo capacity of each vessel on the Turku route increased by around 1,000 lane metres, which raised the total number of lane metres of one vessel to 4,213 metres. A capacity increase of nearly 30 per cent will considerably reduce the fuel consumption per transported unit compared to the original vessel. In addition to improved energy efficiency, the emissions will decrease, which makes the operations environmentally safer”, Merja Kallio-Mannila stresses.
Turku has a strong position in Finnlines’ network
Introducing two lengthened vessels first on the Turku route indicates how important the connection is to Finnlines. According to Merja Kallio-Mannila, Turku is one of the cornerstones of the company’s transports, and the entire west coast of Finland is an important market area.
”Finnlines has a strong customer base in the region, the core of which comprises of major local players. Those customers require two-way traffic and a regular frequency which our liner connection from Turku can offer. Scheduling also plays an important role, especially in terms of smooth further transports and distribution. Import companies are served by our Saturday morning departure from Travemünde. The vessel arrives in Turku on Sunday, and the products can then be delivered to the customers already on Monday morning.”
Finnsteve is happy about the transfer to West Harbour
As the size of the vessels is growing, Finnlines moved all of its operations in Turku from Pansio to West Harbour. The decision was made partly due to the schedules, but it also benefits port operator Finnsteve in the Port of Turku.
”There would not have been enough space for the larger ships in Pansio, but they would have required time-consuming changes in the wharfs. It was possible to start traffic to the West Harbour right away, which was also financially sensible. Focusing on the West Harbour is a good solution from Finnsteve’s point of view, too. Now the equipment and personnel are in one place, which facilitates and enhances our operating. For example, the time-consuming transfers on public roads, for which roll trailers require a special permission, will not be needed at all. The lack of gate cameras is the only downside, but I believe they can be installed in the West Harbour fairly soon”, says Simo Laurila, Regional Director for Finnsteve in Turku.
The increase in cargo transports is also visible in Finnsteve’s operations. The growing demand and new customers have increased the need for labour, and the company has invested in new equipment.
”The increase in the stock of machines enhances especially the loading and unloading of large and heavy items that are difficult to handle. The modern stock of machines and strong expertise of our stevedores ensure that the loads are securely fastened and will be delivered safely even in rough sea conditions”, Simo Laurila assures.
Text: Kari Ahonen
Photos: Jarmo Piironen