As of the beginning of January, international container shipping company Maersk has halted its scheduled container shipping to the Port of Sillamäe, which first began in November 2016. Negotiations are currently underway for the relaunch of regular shipping services from the Northeastern Estonian port.
"Maersk has indeed halted its entry to AS Silsteve's container terminal for the first quarter of this year," said Maanus Paas, general director of AS Silsteve, the owner of the multifunctional terminal at the Port of Sillamäe. "Talks are currently underway with both Maersk as well as other shipping lines regarding the relaunch of the route. I believe that we will have successfully relaunched by the end of the first quarter at least."
Paas declined to comment any further until the situation became more clear.
According to Maersk Eesti managing director Margus Indus, Maersk will not rule out restoring regular service to the Port of Sillamäe in the future.
"As things currently stand, I am unfortunately unable to say more exactly when that might be," Indus said. "During the year, we'll review the schedules of our feeder ships and their rotation between various Baltic Sea ports on a regular basis."
The Port of Sillamäe's professional work and customer-oriented service left a positive impression on Maersk in any case, which the company would be sure to take into consideration when making decisions regarding further port visits in the future, the managing director said.
"The Port of Sillamäe has certainly also boosted the competitiveness of Estonia's [export] goods and generated restorative competitiveness among container ports in Estonia, which we will certainly keep a sharp eye on in the near future as we shape future port options for feeder container ships in Estonia and other neighboring countries."
Regular route launched in 2016
Maersk first tested the work of the Port of Sillamäe's container terminal in November 2015, and launched scheduled operations from the port a year later. The first container ship departed Sillamäe for Rotterdam on November 19, 2016.
"For the Port of Tallinn, the launch of scheduled container shipping was a qualitative leap in the development of the port, which creates favorable conditions for the handling of small shipments at the port as well," the port wrote on its homepage in 2016. "Together with a cargo shipping line, a regular cargo connection was likewise established across the Gulf of Finland with the Port of HaminaKotka.
The launching of regular shipping services from the Port of Tallinn was declared the second most important logistics accomplishment of the year.
According to AS Silsteve's 2018 annual report, the company employed 88 people and earned a profit of €1,262,000 on a net turnover of €11,152,000.
Editor: Aili Vahtla