Tallink CEO: For Talsinki tunnel subsidy funds, we could offer free passage

Tallink CEO Paavo Nõgene.
Tallink CEO Paavo Nõgene. Source: Siiim Lõvi/ERR

Competition between shipping companies has driven Tallinn-Helsinki ferry ticket prices down so much that a business plan based on a one-way ticket for the proposed Tallinn-Helsinki tunnel costing €100 is dubious, according to Tallink Group board chairman Paavo Nõgene.

Mr Nõgene does not believe that construction of the proposed Tallinn-Helsinki tunnel will begin anytime soon, according to an interview with regional daily Tartu Postimees.

He also considers it unrealistic to charge €100 for one-way passage via the tunnel while ferry tickets are so cheap due to stiff competition.

"I am very skeptical of a business plan that seems to be based on €100 one way between Tallinn and Helsinki, where shipping companies are already competing — and those that manage to make €12-13 [per ticket] are hot stuff already," Mr Nõgene said. "And so what the future of this tunnel is, how big these state subsidies will be and what it will require — I think we'll be hearing about this in the future."

If there is talk of the tunnel requiring annual subsidies in the amount of €250 million, that begs the question what issue is actually being resolved with this, he continued.

"If someone said there is €250 million per year on the table, then I believe that all three shipping companies currently operating on the Tallinn-Helsinki route would be willing to provide free passage for all travellers for that kind of money," he added.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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