Freight traffic between Estonia and Finland remains at significant rates, with cargo waiting in line for the six-times daily Megastar vessel, operated by Tallink. Following a brief peak late last week before Finland imposed stricter border controls in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, however, passenger numbers have largely melted away.
Cargo shipping traffic between Finland and Estonia is to remain dense in order to ensure stable availability of goods, Katri Link, Communications Manager at Tallink Group, told ERR on Thursday.
"The bottom line is that the flow of goods between countries must be preserved, and Tallink will certainly ensure that," she said.
Tallink is also receving state support in running its cargo transportation, following a decision by Finland to secure its cargo transit with all three Baltic States.
The Megastar is still open to passenger travel as well, though numbers rapidly dropped following a peak last Saturday of 800. Finland installed border controls which removed a proposed exception to quarantine requirements for those entering the country, if they were Estonian citizens who had a residency permit in Finland.
Many Estonians previously commuted between Tallinn and Helsinki, to work in Finland, and it was hoped this connection would be kept open. However, Finnish authorities opted not to make an exception. Drivers of trucks bringing essential goods to Finland or Estonia are, however, exempt from quarantine requirements.
"We certainly don't have 800 or more passengers on any of the departures right now. There are, on average, 100-200 passengers per departure and even those passengers are mainly cargo drivers," Link said. Link added that the average daily passenger volume across all six daily trips was about 1,000.
Tallink is also working to ensure cargo supply routes remain open between Finland and Sweden.
Starting from Thursday, Tallink will temporarily re-route its Baltic Princess and Galaxy ships on the Turku (Finland)-Kapellskär (Sweden). These routes will not stop off at the Aland/Ahvenamaa islands, however.
Tallink Group currently operates two vessels between Estonia and Finland. As well as the Megastar, the Sea Wind runs between Muuga and Vuosaari harbors (freight-only).
Editor: Andrew Whyte