Volkswerft secures Scandlines order
German shipyard Volkswerft Stralsund, part of the struggling Hegemann shipbuilding group, has secured an order for two large ferries from German-Scandinavian operator Scandlines.
The vessels will be employed by Scandlines from 2012 onwards on the route between Rostock in Germany and Gedser in Denmark. They would have a length of 169 m and a 25 m beam, and would have a capacity of 1,500 passengers and 460 cars or 90 trucks, Scandlines said.
Scandlines did not give a figure for the order volume but said that construction of the vessels and the necessary modifications of port facilities to handle these vessels together amounted to ?230m ($307.5m).
The new ferries will replace the 1980-built, 16,071 gt ferries Kronprins Frederik and Prins Joachim.
Scandlines wants to expand its service on this route to provide an alternative for the service connecting Puttgarden and Rodby, the fastest connection between Germany and Denmark. But the planned construction of a bridge over the Fehmarn Belt could force the company to rethink whether this route remains viable.
?We will do our utmost to develop the Gedser-Rostock route into a veritable traffic machine before the Fehmarn Belt bridge is completed,? said chief operating officer Steen Mikkelsen.
The German cartel office recently ordered Scandlines to open port facilities for the Puttgarden-Rodby service to two Norwegian competitors, following a lengthy investigation.
Scandlines spokesman Michael Speckenbach told Lloyd"s List that the company had meanwhile taken legal action against a cartel ruling issued earlier this year and against its immediate execution. A court decision is pending.
Scandlines was hit by a traffic slump on its routes and cut 340 jobs last year, bringing the number of employees down to 2,000. It saw a net loss of ?5m for the past year. That was, however, a clear improvement on the 2008 result, when it lost ?20m. Turnover decreased from ?582m to ?505m.
Now, the company is enjoying more stable demand, one of the facts prompting it to anticipate a positive return for 2010.