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Circuit court rejects shippers' appeal in Port of Tallinn subsidiaries case

The TS Laevad ferry Tiiu in port at Virtsu.
The TS Laevad ferry Tiiu in port at Virtsu. Source: TS Laevad

Tallinn Circuit Court has dismissed the appeal of a first-tier court ruling from last March dismissing a claim of nearly €24 million in damages against two subsidiaries of the Port of Tallinn, brought by two shippers in connection with Western Estonian island ferry transport procurements.

Together with dismissing the appeal itself, the circuit court likewise left unchanged Harju County Court's March 31, 2023 ruling dismissing a statement of claim submitted by the bankruptcy trustee of Saaremaa Shipping Company (AS Saaremaa Laevakompanii) and Väinamere Lines (Väinamere Liinid OÜ) against Port of Tallinn (AS Tallinna Sadam) subsidiaries TS Laevad OÜ and OÜ TS Shipping, the listed Estonian port operator said in a company announcement.

In their statement of claim, Saaremaa Shipping Company and Väinamere Lines demanded a total of €23.8 million in damages – including €15.8 million to the former and €8 million to the latter – caused by the alleged use of business secrets while participating in the public passenger transport services procurement for ferry routes between the mainland and the major Western Estonian islands of Saaremaa and Hiiumaa.

The second-tier court's decision has not yet entered into force, and the claimants have up to 30 days from the time they receive the circuit court's decision to appeal it to the Supreme Court of Estonia in turn.

According to the company announcement, the Port of Tallinn's management board together with their legal adviser has assessed the dispute in this case as having "no perspective," due to which the company has not established a reserve for covering a potential claim.

"Therefore, the rejection of the lawsuit and the end of the case have no impact on the group's financial results," it noted.

The Port of Tallinn is one of the largest cargo and passenger port complexes in the Baltic Sea region. In addition to passenger and freight services, the port operator is also active in shipping via its subsidiaries, with TS Laevad providing ferry services between the Estonian mainland and its largest islands and TS Shipping chartering the MSV Botnica for icebreaking and offshore services in Estonia as well as projects abroad.

The Port of Tallinn is also a shareholder of the associate company AS Green Marine, which provides waste management services.

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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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