The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications has launched a call for applications to appoint a director general for the new state fleet. The new body is expected to help the state save millions of euros.
Kaupo Läänerand, deputy secretary general for maritime affairs, said that while one of the objectives is to optimize costs, setting up and running the new body will inevitably require some initial investment.
"Bringing the vessels under a single management (structure) will, at the same time, provide an opportunity for more active cross-utilization, reduce fixed costs and (enable us to) benefit from investment," said Läänerand.
"The results of an external analysis commissioned on the basis of input from the working and steering groups of the state fleet, show that its creation will save the state at least €34 million over ten years. This compared with a situation where we would continue to operate in a fragmented way with separate organizations," he added.
"At the moment, each agency manages its own vessels independently, which means that for much of the year they are under-utilized. Bringing the vessels under a single management (structure) will provide the opportunity for them to be used for different purposes," said Läänerand.
In addition to this, the management and maintenance of floating navigation markings, piloting and other services will also be centralized under the state fleet, with the service also set to be available for use by other parties. Universities for instance, will be offered the opportunity to contribute to the technical management, development and staffing of vessels.
The state fleet will incorporate vessels from the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA), Transport Administration, Rescue Board, Environmental Board and piloting company AS Eesti Loots.
The process to recruit a total of six people, who will comprise the agency's start-up preparation team is already underway. The positions to be filled include director general and planning director as well as roles related to technical administration and support services.
Eventually, the national fleet will employ over 200 people, with the aim being to include as many professionals as possible from the agencies being consolidated in the new set up.
The national fleet's core staff will begin work on preparations for the restructuring on January 1 next year, with the new state fleet expected to be fully operational from July 1, 2023. It is expected that the state fleet will require around €20 million annually in operational costs, an amount which will be covered by the state budget.
This week, the ministry launched a call to find a director general for the state navy. The deadline for applications is set for October 31.
The decision to combine the Estonian Navy (Merevägi) vessels and those of the civilian Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) into one fleet was made in November 2021, with two separate operations centers also set to be merged.
Editor: Michael Cole