Ministry plans to create joint state fleet

Partially frozen sea.
Partially frozen sea. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communication plans to create a fleet aggregation plan with the representatives of seven state ferry fleets. The move will improve the situation where state ferries and agencies are underused.

The Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Taavi Aas (Center) said the current maintenance of the fleets is not sustainable, as it is not possible to use ferries flexibly.

By restructuring the fleet, the state could bring down fixed costs and benefit from investments by at least €26 million over 10 years.

"This is well illustrated by the fact that the utilization rate of ferries under 24 meters across the authorities is currently close to 3 percent, which means that each vessel is used for about a month a year. Larger vessels are used more frequently, but there is also unused potential," Aas said.

The plan for connecting the state fleet takes into account the 257 vessels of the Transport Administration, the Police and Border Guard Board, the Environmental Board, TalTech, the Estonian Pilot and Rescue Board, as well as ferries under the Ministry of Economic Affairs, which ensure connections with small islands.

"Preliminary analysis has shown that if we reduced the number of ferries belonging to different agencies by almost 50, no service would suffer, but the result would be a much more sensible use of the available resources," the minister said.

The ministry has created a steering group of experts who much submit an analysis including a timetable, structure, investments, business plan, legislative changes and estimated impact on the state budget by March.

There are currently two independent fleet reforms underway at a national level. The Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Defense want to bring four large ferries into the navy from January 2023. As a result of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communication reform, all other vessels should be concentrated in one organization.

"If both reforms are carried out, Estonia will have two large fleets and we will bring our fragmented fleets from the 1990s into this century," Aas said.

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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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