Vopak ready to set up 250 mEUR regional LNG terminal in Estonia

Vopak E.O.S., the largest independent oil product terminal operator in the Baltics, which wishes to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Muuga, east of Tallinn, also remains ready to set up an additional regional terminal that is estimated to cost approximately 250 million euros.

“The Tallinn LNG terminal is one of the projects to which the EU has given priority and which is eligible for support,” Vopak spokesperson Olga van Kampen told BNS. “The size of the investment depends on the size of the terminal planned for the Muuga port.”

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Estonia is 38th in World Bank’s logistics performance ranking

Estonia has risen by one notch, to the 38th position, in this year’s World Bank logistics performance rankings, coming in ahead of its southern neighbor Latvia but behind Lithuania.

Countries’ performance was measured according to six criteria: customs, infrastructure, international shipments, logistics competence, tracking and tracing, and timeliness.

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Port of Tallinn to expand terminals

Over the next 15 years, the Port of Tallinn is slated to carry out major reconstruction in the vicinity of the capital’s Old City Harbor, build new entertainment and retail areas near the planned Reidi Road, expand the port’s A and D terminals as well as change the area’s traffic solution.

Port of Tallinn Real Estate Development Manager Ahto Ader told BNS that the company is planning to make the area surrounding the Old City Harbor a more active city space which can be more easily traversed.

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Tallink opens a new logistics center in Maardu

The listed Estonian shipper Tallink Grupp opened on Jan.14, 2016 a new logistics centre in the town of Maardu near Tallinn.

The facility was built by Merko Ehitus Eesti at a cost of six million euros exclusive of VAT.

The head of Tallink Duty Free, Aimar Pärna, said that basing on the volume of and demand for logistical services it was expedient for the company to develop and start operating a central logistics centre of its own that would secure the fastest and most cost-effective service to its fleet and hotel network.

The area of the centre is 14,500 square meters and it has 12 kilometres of shelves. It is able to release a million product lines and send out 2,500 trailers of goods annually. The centre will receive 5,000 trucks and 100,000 pallets a year.

The new facility creates 20 additional jobs and will employ up to 60 people in all.

The construction started at the end of April 2015.

The works were commissioned by Infor Invest, a holding of Tallink Grupp major owner Infortar.

Source: Baltic News Service via Estonian Review

Tallink sells ship for 91 million euros

Tallink has signed a contract to sell one of its largest ships, the Superstar, for 91.5 million euros, to a company operating in the Mediterranean. The ship will be delivered in 2017, once Tallink has a new ship, currently being constructed in Turu, Finland.

Built in Italy, the Superstar began life in 2008, costing the company 120 million euros. It has serviced the Tallinn-Helsinki route ever since.

Tallink’s CEO Janek Stalmeister said nothing will change as the Superstar will continue with the same time schedule and team until the new ship has been delivered to Tallink.

In February 2015, Tallink placed an order for an LNG-powered ferry, which should be complete at the beginning of 2017. The cost is around 230 million euros.

The new vessel will carry 2,800 passengers, 720 more than the Superstar, and is 37 meters longer at 212 meters. Both can travel at a maximum speed of 27 knots.

Source: ERR

 

Nordic Aviation Group has sold over 31,000 tickets

The new Estonian airline, Nordic Aviation Group (NAG), has sold 31,444 tickets during the five days since launching ticket sales.

“Altogether 6,438 passengers have flown with us and we have made 147 flights,” Nordic Aviation Group spokesperson Liis Veersalu said in a press release.

Formed by the Estonian government and fully owned by the state, Nordic Aviation Group started serving passengers on eight different routes — Amsterdam, Brussels, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Oslo, Kiev, Trondheim and Vilnius — in cooperation with five European flight operators on Nov. 8.

Currently the role of Nordic Aviation is limited to ordering the flights, as the company does not have its own fleet of aircraft or crew yet. The flights are carried out in cooperation with airlines such as BMI, Trade Air, NextJet and Carpatair that provide the fleet and the crews, and Adria Airways that provides the flight operator’s certificate, commercial platform and ticketing system.

Source: Baltic News Service

Read also from ERR: Nordic Aviation Group takes over Estonian Air routes

EC: government aid to Estonian Air was illegal

The Estonian national airline will fold following a decision by the European Commission that funding given to the company by the Estonian government was not in line with EU regulations. The company, founded in 1991, does not have the funds to pay back the state and will declare bankruptcy.

The Commission began an investigation into Estonian state aid to the company in 2013, with Estonian authorities waiting for a decision ever since.

Today, on November 7, the Commission ruled that the around 90 million euros given by the Estonian government to the company, gave the company an competitive advantage over others. This means the government must demand the full amount, plus interest, back from Estonian Air. The state had also earmarked a further 40 million euros, which would have been given to Estonian Air in case of a positive decision. That money will now go to the Nordic Aviation Group.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “Companies should compete based on a sustainable business model rather than relying on continued support by the State to stay in the market. Estonian Air has repeatedly received public subsidies over the past five years but did not carry out the necessary restructuring to become viable as a business. It would not be a good use of taxpayer money to keep Estonian Air in the market artificially – nor would it be fair to competitors, which have to compete without such support.”

The crunch question for the Commission was whether a private investor would have acted the same was as the Estonian state, pouring in as much money on the same conditions – if the state aid corresponded with market conditions.

The Commission ruled that Estonian Air received support three times, although EU regulations allow state aid to be given only once a decade. The Commission also ruled that the company did not have a credible restructuring plan and that measures aimed at limiting the distortions of competition were not sufficient.

The end

The government has set up two companies, which will begin to take over from Estonian Air. One (Nordic Aviation Group) will manage Estonian Air’s routes, while the other (Transpordi Varahaldus) will take on lease contracts.

Economy Minister Kristen Michal said on Friday that if a negative decision is made, then the Estonian Air fleet will be grounded from Sunday.

He said those at their destinations will be flown back home and those with tickets for future flights, will receive compensation. Those with an Estonian Air ticket have been asked to go to www.estonianair.ee or call +372 605 8888 for more information.

The board of Estonian Air today decided to halt all business activity from Sunday, November 8.

The company serviced around 500,000 people annually in the last few years, giving employment to 200 people.

History

It is a sad ending for a company, which became a symbol for newly re-independent Estonia at the beginning of the 1990s.

The company was founded during turbulent times but helped Estonia establish connections with the West. In 1995, the company purchased two brand new Boeing aircraft, giving a boost to a nation trying to rebuild from over 50 years of occupation.

Between 1996 to 2010 the state relinquished controlling shares in the company, and only purchased the company back in 2010 to ensure it did not go bankrupt.

Since 2009, the government has handed around 135 million euros into the company in capital injections, state aid and restructuring aid. The last time the company earned a profit was in 2005.

In 2012, losses amounted to over 50 million euros, from a turnover of less than 100 million. Until then, and after, losses were far smaller. The reasons for 2012 losses were in the company’s drive to expand. In 2011 the state hired Tero Taskila, a Finnish expert who came with a much criticized 30,000 euros per month salary, to take the company to another level. Yet, the plans to expand the company failed. Estonian Air was also hit by higher fuel prices, troubles with aircraft and salary increases.

In 2013, the company embarked on a large-scale restructuring path, cutting its fleet and the number of destinations. Staff numbers were halved.

Source: ERR