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RIGA - From Aug. 7, the ferry ‘Romantika’ will no longer operate the Riga-Stockholm route; the ferry’s last trip from Riga to Stockholm was scheduled for Aug. 6, Tallink Latvija Sales and Marketing Director Baiba Muceniece said to Nozare.lv.
The ferry ‘Isabelle’ will continue operations according to the schedule, which means that Tallink ferry trips from Riga to Stockholm will now be every other day, not daily, added Muceniece.
Asked about Tallink’s future plans for Riga, Muceniece said that the company was optimizing - or cutting - its operations and destinations network, and would consider various alternatives. “We do not rule out that two ferries could operate on the Riga-Stockholm route again sometime in the future,” she said.
Due to the changes in the company’s operations, Tallink is also currently planning layoffs, but the goal is to keep as many employees as possible, she added.
Tallink Grupp announced on July 21 that it had signed a contract with Bridgemans Services on chartering the Silja Europa ferry to Australia, which means several changes to the Tallink schedule effective from August.
The ferry ‘Romantika,’ which had offered ferry services between Riga and Stockholm, will now operate on the Tallinn-Stockholm route, and only one ferry, the ‘Isabelle,’ will operate the Riga-Stockholm route. This means that the ferry will travel from Riga to Stockholm every other day, whereas previously the two ferries offered daily service on the route.
This, in turn, will likely lead to a decrease in passenger turnover on the route.
In the meantime, the ‘Baltic Queen’ ferry will now operate trips between Tallinn and Helsinki.
Due to the Silja Europa charter contract and the related changes, the company will have to lay off a number of employees. Talks with trade unions are under way at the moment.
Tallink Grupp deputy CEO Andres Hunt said that the changes were meant to improve the group’s operational efficiency and profitability.
In the first quarter this year, Tallink Grupp posted 23.4 million euros in net losses, up from 17.5 million euros in the same period last year, according to the company’s statement submitted to the Tallinn Stock Exchange. The company’s turnover fell 1.2 percent to 188.2 million euros.
Tallink Grupp is one of the largest shipping companies in the Baltics. The company’s annual passenger turnover is 9.1 million, it employs almost 6,900 people in Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Latvia, Russia and Germany.