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Supreme Court rejects domestic ferry service procurement complaint

The Supreme Court today rejected a complaint by Väinamere Liinid on the result of a domestic ferry service tender worth around 200 million euros over 10 years. Väinamere Liinid, which currently services the routes in question, lost out to state-owned Port of Tallinn for the 10-year-contract.

The court agreed with the two lower court levels that any state aid to Port of Tallinn during the procurement was not illegal. The court said state aid can be used in procurements but if it drives the price of a bid too low, competition laws are infringed.

The court said the joint offer by TS Laevad OÜ and OÜ TS Shipping, both subsidiaries of Port of Tallinn was not unreasonably low. The bid was above the expected price of the procurement. Port of Tallinn, through its subsidiaries, bid 64 million euros less, over 10 years, than Väinamere Liinid.

Port of Tallinn won the tender to provide ferry services on Estonia's two most popular routes, from the mainland to Hiiumaa and Saaremaa islands. The company will replace Väinemere Liinid on the routes from September 2016.

New ferries on the way

The procurement required the purchase of new ferries to service the lines. Port of Tallinn today announced it had issued bonds worth 60 million euros to finance the construction of four new ferries.

The company has so far paid shipyards in Poland and Turkey slightly over 60 million euros. The boats will be delivered to the Port of Tallinn in late summer, 2016 and will be named Tõll, Piret, Leiger and Tiiu.

Bribery case

In August this year, the two-man management board of the Port of Tallinn were arrested on bribery charges.

The case involves many instances of taking, giving and facilitating bribes going back as far as 2009.

The case includes one chapter of Port of Tallinn's tender to order the four above named boats. Prosecutors suspect at least one of the men, Allan Kiil, accepted bribes totaling around 1 million euros from Polish shipyard chiefs to hand the Polish company the contract. A number of the Polish businessmen have also been named suspects.

Editor: J.M. Laats

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