Port of Tallinn: Polish ferry contracts were concluded on market conditions
The contracts for building new ferries were concluded on market conditions in 2013 and the ferries under construction in Poland are covered by a bank guarantee, state-owned Port of Tallinn, which took over as operator of the passenger ferry routes connecting Estonia's major western islands to the mainland via subsidiary TS Laevad in October, said on Monday.
"The Port of Tallinn has bank guarantees, which means that the money we've paid the shipyard is safe," explained the company in a press release. "It makes no difference whether we've already paid 16 million or 30 million [euros], and in the worst case scenario, if it should happen that Remontowa fails to fulfill the contract, the Port of Tallinn will fully recover its money from the bank."
The Polish shipbuilder, Remontowa, is interested in completing the ferries regardless as it would otherwise end up in financial trouble.
The Port of Tallinn said that they wanted to refute a claim in Monday's issue of daily Postimees that Remontowa had cheated the company out of tens of millions of euros. "If the price of one ferry as claimed by Postimees [31.5 million euros] was considerably above the market price, the question arises how the shipyard would quickly find a new buyer for it," wrote the Estonian state-owned company.
The Port of Tallinn also said that the penalty agreed upon together with the Polish shipyard was above the market average and that the lowest offers available from different shipyards in 2013, based upon documents made available to the company at the time, were chosen for the contracts.
"Offers from Western European shipbuilders were on the order of 36 million [euros]; prices of 4-5-year-old ships suited for the route have been recently quoted in Estonian media as costing 26-27 million euros," noted the port company, adding that it ws difficult for its current executives to comment on the choices made by its previous management board.
Estonian daily Postimees wrote on Monday that the Port of Tallinn had agreed to pay around 20 million euros more than the market price for the two ferries it ordered from Polish shipbuilder Remontowa. As the penalty for failure to deliver the ferries by the deadline is 37,500 euros per day, the Polish shipyard can delay delivery by up to 10 months, the paper said.