The state is supporting providers of passenger sea transport services Tallink Grupp, Viking Line, Eckerö Line and DFDS Estonia's branch through the Support Services Center with €20 million to compensate for losses caused by the coronavirus restrictions.
The emergency situation announced in spring forced international services to close passenger shipping lines to Estonia's neighboring countries. At the same time, in order to maintain trade, operators had to partially continue to operate passenger ships and suffered additional losses.
Head of the Living and Business Environment Service of the State Support Services Cente Lauri Alver said the loss of international passenger transport caused inevitable damage to shipping line operators. Compensating it is justified to reduce the effects of COVID-19 and to eliminate serious economic disruption.
"Without support, it would be possible that operators of shipping lines would have to the change freight transport prices or end their activities to decrease the loss. Both scenarios would harm trading between Estonia and its neighboring countries, which would also affect the economic environment and lengthen recovering from the economic situation," Alver explained.
The support allows for compensation of up to 80 percent of the losses. Tallink Grupp will receive €15 million, Viking Line €4.5 million and Eckerö Line €350,000 and to the Estonian branch of DFDS nearly €100,000. The operators applying for aid estimated the damage caused by the restrictions total €59 million and applied for compensation of €39 million.
The support period is March 13 to June 15, 2020 for Estonian-Finnish shipping lines and March 13 to September 30, 2020 for Estonian-Swedish shipping lines.
The support is based on the Regulation of the Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure of October 9 and is paid from the state budget. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications developed the conditions of the support measure and applied for a state aid permit. The subsidies are paid by the State Support Services Center.
Editor: Roberta Vaino