482,000€ block in Tallink changes hands in early trade

The price of the share of Tallink Grupp moved up 0.69 percent as 482,000 euros’ worth of shares in the shipper changed hands in a block trade in early trade on the Tallinn stock exchange on Monday.

The three stocks seeing the biggest turnovers during the first 45 minutes were Tallink, Silvano Fashion Group and Tallinna Vesi, all of which posted gains. In the rest of the names turnover was smaller than 10,000 euros.

With a turnover of 522,000 euros that included a block trade worth 482,000 euros, Tallink rose 0.69 percent to 0.725 euros.

EU member states on Friday approved 29.3 million euros in EU funding within the 2014 CEF Transport Multi-Annual Calls for proposals to finance the infrastructure investments of the ports of Helsinki and Tallinn together with Tallink Grupp. The total cost of the planned investments is 97.6 million euros

Tallink stands to receive 4.8 million euros to commission a new environmentally friendly LNG vessel costing 230 million euros to serve the Helsinki-Tallinn line starting from 2017. The investment under TWIN-PORT II is 16.0 million euros.

Silvano Fashion Group rose 0.75 percent in early trade to 1.340 euros with a turnover of 20,000 euros and Tallinna Vesi firmed 0.76 percent to 13.20 euros in trade worth 16,000 euros.

On Friday, OMXT inched up 0.03 percent to 840.43 points and turnover from 259 transactions totaled 535,651 euros. Tallink fell 2.31 percent to 0.72 euros and turnover from 114 trades totaled 241,613 euros while Tallinna Vesi rose 0.77 percent to 13.1 euros as 135,168 euros’ worth of shares changed hands in 38 transactions.

Source: BNS

EU gives 30 mEUR to develop infrastructure of Helsinki-Tallinn maritime link

The ports of Helsinki and Tallinn together with the listed Estonian shipper AS Tallink Grupp have obtained 29.3 million euros in EU funding within the 2014 CEF Transport Multi-Annual Calls for proposals to finance their infrastructure investments.

The total cost of the planned investments is 97.6 million euros, the state owned company Port of Tallinn said on Monday.

The CEF (Connecting Europe Facility) program is a continuation to TEN-T, under which the initial TWIN-PORT project was started. The follow-up project is called TWIN-PORT II. The development of the Helsinki-Tallinn maritime link as part of the TEN-T North Sea-Baltic core corridor is of vital importance as it connects the northern parts of Europe with southern TEN-T corridors.

“This ongoing effective cooperation with Port of Helsinki and Tallink helps us to develop the link as a whole. It also supports the Twin City idea and the Rail Baltic project,” Ain Kaljurand, CEO of Port of Tallinn, said.

Kimmo Maki, CEO of Port of Helsinki, said the support for investment in the West Terminal building will have a significant impact on the comfort of passengers and smoothness of traffic on the whole Helsinki-Tallinn maritime link.

“The new LNG powered fast ferry will bring swift environment friendly operations to the busy Tallinn-Helsinki route. We are happy to see a successful collaboration between public and private companies that is supported by the European Union,” said Janek Stalmeister, chairman of the management board of Tallink Grupp.

The Helsinki-Tallinn line is one of the busiest international routes in the world, serving about eight million passengers per year, while trucks and trailers carry more than three million tons of cargo per year. The flows of traffic and passengers between the two ports have been constantly growing already for a decade. Therefore the project is crucial for both cargo and passenger flows to ensure smooth traffic between Helsinki and Tallinn.

According to the allocation of the support to develop the Helsinki-Tallinn maritime link from 2015-2018, Port of Helsinki will receive 19.2 million euros to develop traffic and port facilities related to Helsinki-Tallinn line traffic, which includes the new fast flow terminal, ramp constructions for the vessels, gate services and street connections. The total investment of Port of Helsinki amounts to 64 million euros.

Port of Tallinn stands to receive 5.3 million euros to develop several items in the Old City Harbor, such as the port’s sewage system to collect waste waters from ships, extension of terminal D, reconstruction of access to terminal A and connecting the terminals A and D, for a total investment of 17.6 million euros.

Tallink Grupp will receive 4.8 million euros to commission a new environmentally friendly LNG vessel costing 230 million euros to serve the Helsinki-Tallinn line starting from 2017. The investment under TWIN-PORT II is 16.0 million euros.

TWIN-PORT II will lead to maximum efficiency for this short sea line by optimizing port operations and infrastructure and will provide efficiency in a “door to door” approach, minimizing the costs and transit time, while increasing the cooperation and reliability of the transport service between Tallinn and Helsinki.

Source: BNS

Foreign trade turnover decreases

In May 2015, the turnover of exports of goods of Estonia decreased by 6% and imports by 10%, year on year. After the first five months, exports’ turnover has declined by 1% and imports’ turnover by 5%, year on year. Export sales to Russia have declined by around 50%, year on year, during the first 5 months of this year, while exports to other markets have increased modestly (+4%, yoy).

One reason behind a decrease in the turnover of foreign trade has been a fall in output and input prices. Export prices in the Estonia’s manufacturing sector have declined by 4% and import prices by 3% (5 months data). A decline in prices has been caused by modest demand on world’s markets as well as an oversupply of commodities. Among Estonia’s main export articles, export volumes of mobile network devices (Estonia’s main export article), wood products, furniture, various optical and other instruments, and metal products are on the rise. The export volumes of construction machinery (bulldozers, etc.; transit goods from Western Europe to Russia), milk, vodka (Russia one of the main markets) and petroleum oils (partly transit goods from Russia to other parts of the world) have decreased substantially. The share of Russia in Estonia’s exports of goods and services has decreased from 10% in 2013 to 5% in the first quarter of 2015. Sentiment among Estonia’s manufacturing industry has remained relatively stable throughout this year, according to a survey of the Estonian Institute of Economic Research, published yesterday, although demand on export markets is below historical average. Manufacturing enterprises expect their sales, prices, and the number of employees to stay at current level. Managers in the industry perceive the Russia/Ukraine conflict and Greece as main risks surrounding the outlook. Source: Swedbank

Medieval ships were discovered in Tallinn

A few weeks ago ERR News reported a find of medieval ships at a construction site in Tallinn. Excavations are now well under way and the first results in.

Of the two ships laying close to each other, one is at least 600 years old, the other a bit younger.

“Some have already claimed this the find of a century,” Research in Estonia reports.

One of the vessels, a merchant ship from 13th or 14th century, bears sings of fire. “The wooden ship where tar and moss had been used as insulating materials was excellent food for fire that spread fast,” said archaeologist Maili Roio, who is excavating the ships. The fire ravaged through the vessel so quickly that even most of the ropes and moorings were left on the ship when it sank.

Roio’s team is performing an emergency dig on the ship, required before the construction of a new residental area can continue on the site where the ships were found in June. “Nothing would have happened to the ship, had she stayed where she was. But now we have to move quickly as exposure to oxygen, wind, and sunlight has been a real shock to her,” Roio explained.

As preserving and conserving would be too expensive, both the older ship and another one found a few metres away from the 15th or 16th century, will be removed from the site, researched as much as possible and then stowed away. In other words – the ships are going to be sunk back to the sea and covered, as the cold and wet environment is the best place to avoid further damage to them until funds to restore them can be found. “At the moment, we don’t even have the possibilities to conserve them. So sinking them is the most reasonable thing to do. That way, maybe someone some day will find a way to lift, conserve, and exhibit them.”

“We won’t have the time to analyse the ships very thoroughly in site, but we try to document and research the wrecks as thoroughly as we possibly can in current conditions. We also try to preserve them as compactly as possible,” Roio said.

Hence, Roio and her colleagues have managed to gather a lot of new information and artefacts that will be displayed on an exhibition, most likely to take place in the next few years. The finds include mortars, footwear, textiles and pottery found in the ships stowage.

The ships are almost definitely cogs, a popular type of vessels built in the Medieval times and used for many centuries. It was 2 metres deep, about 20 metres long and 6 metres wide. Only parts of such vessels have been found in Estonia before and even on a global scale, well-preserved wrecks are rare. The most famous of them, the Bremen cog that was built in the late 14th century and found some fifty years ago in Germany, is now displayed as one of the key exhibits in the German Shipping Museum in Bremerhaven.

Roio also expressed hope that this might not be the last to be unearthed in Estonia. “Although these vessels are quite extraordinary, it is possible we’ll encounter more such findings in the future,” she said. “Tallinn was, after all, a Hanseatic city, so who knows.”

“I just hope we find it when we are more prepared for it than today,” she admitted.

The wrecks of three Medieval ships were discovered in June in an old harbour near Kadriorg, which was filled in toward the end of the 1930s. The vessels lied 4 meters deep in sea sediments.

Source: ERR via Estonian Review


EC to finance 82 percent of Rail Baltic project

European Commission has proposed financing the Rail Baltic high-speed railway in the extent of 82 percent which means that the three Baltic countries would have to finance the project with 97.2 million euros.

The European Commission announced on Monday it would grant the request of the Baltic countries for the financing of Rail Baltic in the amount of 540 million euros. Of that sum Estonia’s share would be 213 million euros, while Latvia is to get 281 million, Lithuania 28 million euros and the Rail Baltic joint venture 7 million euros, Rail Baltic project manager Miiko Peris said on Monday at a press conference. The resources can be used as of 2016.

According to Peris about 40 percent of the sum goes toward the preparation works and 60 percent would be used for railway construction.

The next Connecting Europe Facility financing round should take place at the end of the year and additional requests can be submitted for that, he added.

According to the initial schedule the railway should be ready by 2024 or 2025 and the period for using the support should last until that, Peris said. He added that submitting additional requests is definitely necessary.

“According to information known to us the Commission plans to carry out an additional financing round each year. The interest of the Baltic countries is to definitely take part in that but for that we have to show that the project is moving and activities are being carried out,” Peris said.

Source: Baltic News Service via Estonian Review

Estonian ministry steps up fight against smoking

Estonia’s Ministry of Social Affairs is seeking opinions on a draft tobacco law which foresees graphic health warnings on cigarette packs and a ban on indoor smoking areas without walls, among other things.

“Tobacco product packages are an influential marketing tool. Graphic warnings will raise smokers’ and above all young people and minors’ awareness that smoking damages health and also motivate them to give it up,” Minister of Health and Labor Rannar Vassiljev explained. “I believe that realistic pictures will diminish everyone’s wish to pick up a cigarette pack. I hope the new approach is also conducive to not starting next to dropping the habit.”

Picture health warnings will be obligatory on packages of cigarettes, smoking tobacco and waterpipe tobacco, spokespeople for the ministry said. So far only warning texts have been used on packages.

The bill also envisions a ban on indoor smoking areas without walls from 2017. Abolition of smoking areas has been recommended also by the World Health Organization. The organization has said there is no such thing as harmless tobacco smoke content in air.

The draft law further proposes to make prisons and their territories smoke-free so as to help inmates kick the habit and protect their and employees’ health.

The bill was sent for consideration to the Justice Ministry, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, Finance Ministry, Health Board, association of tobacco manufacturers and justice chancellor.

Source: Baltic News Service via Estonian Review

Tallinn’s restrictions on hard liquor sale affects 200 stores

Alcohol sale restrictions which, among other things, ban strong alcohol sales in small stores in Tallinn as of July 1 will affect about 200 stores or a third of the total number of stores selling liquor in the Estonian capital city.

According to a spokesperson for the Tallinn Enterprise Board, Aave Jurgen, in October 2014 the number of stores selling alcoholic beverages was 600 in Tallinn and about 200 of these did not have a total area of 150 square meters or more which is needed according to the new law. She added that by today the number may have changed but not by much.

Jurgen said that the city is to definitely exercise supervision.

According to Jurgen the aim of the restriction is to somewhat limit access to hard liquor.

As of July 1 retail sale of alcohol will be banned in shops whose entrance is situated within 50 meters of the main entrance of a basic school, high school or vocational school. It will also be illegal to sell alcohol in buildings situated in the territory of gas stations and alcohol will be sold in specially designated areas at sports events. Where under the present regulation hard liquor can be sold in shops with a total area of at least 75 square meters, as of July 1 the minimum area requirement will be increased to 150 square meters.

Source: Baltic News Service via Estonian Review


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