A new cargo shipping service operated by Finnish company Eckerö is to run from Muuga Harbor, and not Tallinn as originally planned. The switch was prompted by improvements at Muuga, which both make it more attractive to Eckerö than earlier, and avoided overloading Tallinn harbor.
The vessel, the Finbo Cargo, will also take passengers with cars, with a journey time of two hours 45 minutes, from Muuga, east of Tallinn, to Vuosaari Harbor in Finland, BNS reports.
The original plan to operate from Terminal A at Tallinn's ferry harbor was shelved and replaced by Muuga, thanks to improved infrastructure by the Port of Tallinn, Eckerö CEO Taru Keronen said.
"Thanks to this, we can choose Muuga Harbor for mooring and also shorten the journey time by a quarter of an hour," Keronen said, in a press release.
Although Muuga is not within Tallinn city limits or municipality, responsibility for its facilities still lie with the part state-owned Port of Tallinn. The switch to Muuga also alleviates pressure on Tallinn ferry harbor, while still retaining sufficient accessibility from the capital, Port of Tallinn says.
"Passengers coming from the environs of Tallinn, and elsewhere in Estonia, will be able to quickly and comfortably get to Muuga Harbor via Tallinn's ring roads, thus reducing the traffic load on Tallinn city center," Port of Tallinn CEO Valdo Kalm said.
"I commend Eckerö for opting, after all, not to bring in dozens of kilometers of large truck columns to Tallinn city center as they were initially planning to do ‒ this would have quickly led our city traffic into chaos," Tallinn city council chair Tiit Terik said of the development.
According to Terik, everybody will be a winner from this decision. In addition to city residents, truck drivers and those dependent on their deliveries will also benefit.
"Negotiating city center traffic jams would have robbed regular road users of several nerve cells, and the truck drivers of several hours of valuable driving time," Terik added.
Road closures at a key junction close to the harbor through the summer will in any case create traffic delays. The under-construction Reidi Road, running from the harbor area to Kadriorg, is aimed at improving harbor access in the longer term.
The new Finbo route will in any case divert heavy trucks outside the city centers of Tallinn, and for that matter, Helsinki, reducing air pollution as well.
It will also generate around 80 new jobs in both countries, BNS reports.
With the addition of the Finbo Cargo, Eckerö Line will be offering 10 departures per day to Helsinki, four with the Finbo and six more on the established MS Finlandia.
The new vessel is named after Finbo, a small island in the Åland/Ahvenanmaa archipelago, which was also the inspiration for the Eckerö name itself.
The Finbo Cargo was previously owned and operated by British shipping company P&O Ferries.
Editor: Andrew Whyte