Stena Lines pulls out of Lubeck.
Ferry operator Stena Line is abandoning Lübeck-Travemunde as one of two German ports of call for freight operations, and will be focussing on Kiel from autumn this year.
Two larger ro-pax ferries will be employed on the Kiel-Gothenburg service to cope with additional cargo.
The suprise announcement from Sweden came as a blow to the port of Lubeck. According to local reports, the withdrawal of Stena Line will reduce turnover at the Skandinavienkai terminal by about 15% per year.
The port has suffered several setbacks recently. Last year, Hamburg terminal operator HHLA decided to terminate its engagement in Lübeck, which it had originally sought to establish as a bridgehead for its Baltic Sea operations.
As Stena Line will receive two ferries, marketed as Superferries, from Nordic Yards in the course of this year, several routes will see new ships in service. Kiel-Gothenburg will then be operated by Stena Hollandica and Stena Britannica, which currently operate between Harwich and Hook of Holland.
At the same time, the Stena Germanica and Stena Scandinavica, currently serving the Kiel-Gothenburg route, will be shifted to service Karlskrona and Gdynia.
Although Kiel will not see more ship calls, but merely larger tonnage, the announcement by Stena Line was praised as ?splendid news? by the port. Kiel will upgrade its Schwedenkai terminal facility by investing some ?30m ($40.8m).
Total capacity between Sweden and Germany will be retained with the help of the larger ships, Stena Line said, despite the closure of the Lübeck-Gothenburg service. Cargo volumes on the latter route were reported to have fallen by 40% over the past year and thus causing the service to make a loss.