From the beginning of October, listed Estonian shipping line Tallink will start negotiations with the representatives of the Port of Riga (Latvia) on reducing port dues, ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported on Wednesday, September 23.
Despite the spread of the coronavirus, the Latvian state is still interested in a ferry connection with both Stockholm and Helsinki, AK reported.
"The minister suggested that it is also possible to apply for state aid, but it is nevertheless easiest to talk about the costs related to the port," Tallink CEO Paavo Nõgene told the news program.
He added that all port and terminal related costs totaled over €4 million for Tallink in 2019. "And if it is possible to find significant relief in this respect, it will definitely reduce Tallink's operational risks," Nõgene said.
Latvian Minister of Economic Affairs, Janis Vitenbergs, said that: "In October, we will sit behind a joint table with the managers of the Port of Riga to decide how to solve the problem of port dues and how to give a discount to Tallink in the future."
"We are interested in the resumption of normal traffic between Riga and Stockholm as soon as possible. This is a priority," he went on.
Tallink's Helsinki-Riga cruises have also proved to be very popular, but the Finnish infection rate has risen to around 16, so cruises may be interrupted if the Latvian government does not decide to increase its allowed infection rate.
"If the Latvian state says that those coming from Finland have to go into self-isolation even though they are only here for a day, then we have to suspend the route and then we will certainly not restore it until early summer," Nõgene said, adding that if nothing significant happens in the meantime, Tallink will travel from Riga to Stockholm once a week.
Tallink, too, was able to use the wage compensation measure in Latvia, but redundancies are inevitable. "In Latvia, we are laying off approximately 95 percent of the people working here, or almost 600 people," Nõgene said.
Tallink's Riga hotel in will be closed in a few weeks from now, it is reported.
Editor: Roberta Vaino