Minister, Port of Tallinn ink island ferry service contract
Minister of Economic Affairs Urve Palo and the Port of Tallinn made it official today, with the state-owned company awarded the contract for ferry service between the mainland and Estonia's islands.
The 10-year contract signed today by the minister and company representatives will start on October 1, 2016.
The subsidy to be paid to the Port of Tallinn subsidiary that will handle the contract is around 200 million euros over the 10-year contract.
The company will build four new ferries for the Saaremaa and Hiiumaa routes by the start of the contract. The ships will allow year-round service with no need for separate icebreaker service. Each ship can carry at least 150 cars, or 10 tractor-trailers. There will be places for at least 600 passengers, with at least 400 seats inside.
The ships will also have alternative liquefied gas fuel systems in addition to the primary diesel engines.
The contract process has been controversial, unseating a longtime private operator. The move parallels the changes in the national passenger train sector, where a state-owned company also took over from a private operator this year.