The Finbo Cargo, a new vessel operated by Finnish ferry line Eckerö, is to have her maiden passenger voyage on the Muuga-Vuosaari route next Tursday.
The Finbo Cargo, as her name suggests, takes cargo, as well as passengers with cars. She was formerly operated by U.K. line P&O.
The journey time, from the port of Muuga, east of Tallinn, to the Finnish port of Vuosaari in east Helsinki, will take a reported two hours 45 minutes.
The rationale in using Muuga was both the improved facilities there, and a desire to take traffic pressure of Tallinn ferry harbor, where both road closures and construction of a new road are causing congestion.
The first voyage is on Tuesday, June 25, and a one-way ticket with a car costs a reported €22.
Manager at Eckerö's Estonian branch Katrin Sirk-Aun told ERR Tuesday that bookings are already open for the route, though was unable to say how many tickets have so far been sold.
Tallink route already in operation
Rival shipping company Tallink already launched its own service from Muuga last week, on the Tallink Sea Wind. Tallink says that more tickets have been sold on their route than expected, adding that prices will ultimately depend on competition.
Tallink opened the route on June 12 and a one way ticket with a car costs €20, plus €10 per passenger.
Sirk-Aun of Eckerö said she hoped passengers would make use of both company's services, but was unable to say if the competition would push prices down.
Tallink Group's communications manager Katri Link told ERR that the company's choice of the Muuga-Vuosaari route was not in reaction to Eckerö's own service.
"We already had the plan. The project was certainly not the result of short-term planning – we had been planning the route from Muuga for some time," Link said.
"It just worked out that way that our plans ended up coming to fruition at the same time [as Eckerö's], it wasn't a reaction," she said.
Link also said that prices would be monitored in light of the competition, but could not promise any future price drops.
"Based on the last few weeks, interest in journeys on the Sea Wind has been great," she said, adding that more tickets had been snapped up than expected.
"Time will tell how passenger interest develops in both lines," she said.
Tallink's voyage time is however an hour longer than Eckerö's, at three hours 45 minutes, somewhat reversing the norm on the Tallinn-Helsinki route, when Tallink journey times are generally about half an hour shorter than those of Eckerö or the other major operator, Viking.
Editor: Andrew Whyte