New Russian Cruise-Ferry in the Baltic: Anek Lines and Sea Facade discuss Join Venture – possible start 2019
According to Russian and Greek media, Smolny is discussing with Greek investors the creation of a joint venture to launch a maritime passenger shipping company in the Baltic.
It is believed that the city of St.Petersburg will receive a blocking stake in the joint venture, and the partners will provide an ice-class vessel for winter navigation – mv EL VENIZELOS -, which will connect the Sea Facade port of St. Petersburg with the ports of Helsinki, Stockholm and Tallinn, and will also be able to sail to Kaliningrad and Riga.
Passenger Port St. Petersburg "Marine Facade" JSC (100% owned by Smolny) signed an agreement on cooperation with Greek companies Anek Lines (ferry company), Litinus Group (engaged in real estate construction) and Prime Bulk (Shipmanagement) on the creation in St. Petersburg of the maritime passenger shipping company. Smolny (City of St.Petersburg) will have 51% of the Partnership.
"Marine Facade" announced plans to create a shipping company in early 2018 , was ready to invest about 7,5 Million EUR for this Project. It was planned that the new ferry operator will start running on the Baltic Sea in the season of 2019 (April to November).
According to Alexey Panfilov, Commercial Director of the Marine Facade, the timeline for opening the line is not set as yet. He added that Estonian Tallink Line, who had previously participated in negotiations with the city, did not show interest in the project, but was considering organizing Christmas cruises in 2020.
The Greek side is ready to provide one ice-class ferry for 2.5 thousand people for the start of winter cruises in the Baltic, the Kommersant source says, adding that the operator will also have the opportunity to organize the transportation of goods by rolling. Total fleet Anek Lines has nine ferry ships, the operator provides passenger and cargo transportation in the Mediterranean, it follows from the data on the company's website. In the near future, says Mr. Panfilov, the Marine Facade plans to conduct a technical audit of the vessel.
According to him, the investor is offered to enter a new market, where the income to shipping companies is brought by the sale of cruise tours, forex services, duty free and other trade and entertainment services on board.
The city is ready to take on the running costs of creating a legal entity, opening an office, and conducting an advertising campaign.
Previously, "Marine Facade" considered other options for the operation of the vessel: bareboat charter, leasing or rental. Then the investment in the creation of a national ferry operator was estimated at 106 Million EUR, but this option included purchasing a vessel.
“The Greek partners have announced their interest in the project, but will evaluate the legal, financial and economic parameters of the joint venture. In essence, the signed agreement provides only for the creation of a working group on the project.
Now from St. Petersburg to Helsinki, Stockholm and Tallinn runs the ferry "Princess Anastasia" company Moby SPL, a Joint Venture of italian Moby Lines with Russian St.Peter Line.