Saaremaa Municipal Government has decided to announce a procurement for finding an operator for the Mõntu-Ventspils ferry route that would connect Estonia's largest western island of Saaremaa directly to the Latvian coastal town of Ventspils to its southwest, regional paper Saarte Hääl writes.
An operator is being sought for a period of five years, with a criterion of lowest price. According to Saaremaa Deputy Municipal Mayor Marili Niits, no funds have been earmarked yet, as the plan is to wait for the results of the procurement first.
"After the procurement is conducted, the size of the necessary support will be determined, which both the Freeport of Ventspils and Saaremaa Municipality intend to shoulder," Niits told Saarte hääl.
Regarding the projected size of the subsidy, according to the deputy municipal mayor, all they could go by at the moment are the route's previous expenses or an analysis conducted by the NGO Saarte Koostöökogu titled "Study analysis of shipping routes on the Saaremaa-Latvia route"
The results of the analysis indicate that the relaunch of a Mõntu-Ventspils ferry route would only be likely with the support of financing from the public sector, and that the necessary sum could amount to up to €900,000 for the first three years.
Mõntu-Ventspils popular route in past
From 2005-2008, a ferry route operated between the Port of Mõntu on Saaremaa's Sõrve Peninsula and the Western Latvian coastal town of Ventspils proved popular among Estonians, Latvians and foreign tourists alike.
An attempt was made to relaunch the route in 2017, which the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications was prepared in principle to support, but the plans have yet to become a reality.
Editor: Aili Vahtla