Emanuele Grimaldi, president and CEO, in conjunction with the review:
“The fourth quarter ended extremely well and the result exceeded the previous year’s quarter by over 100 per cent and was EUR 14.9 (7.3) million. The January–December 2017 result improved by over 21 per cent and was EUR 82.7 (68.1) million, representing, for the third year in a row, the best ever result in Finnlines’ 70-year history. The Finnish economy started to pick up at the end of 2016 and growth accelerated during 2017. The sea freight volumes in Finland grew by over 12 per cent during the year, yet, this can be considered an unprecedented result in the Finnlines Group.
We are expanding the Finnlines fleet. In 2013, MS Europalink was sold by Finnlines to the parent company because of insufficient volumes in the Baltic at that time. In January 2018, the vessel re-joined Finnlines on the Germany–Sweden route. Slotting the vessel back into the Finnlines rotation will also trigger reshuffling elsewhere in our routes. MS Nordlink, from the Germany–Sweden route will be redeployed on the route between Finland and Sweden, that is, on the Naantali–Långnäs–Kapellskär route. MS Nordlink’s flag was changed to the Finnish flag and the vessel was renamed MS Finnswan. MS Finnswan will be one of the first ships of this length and with this level of cargo capacity to serve our customers between Finland and Sweden.
During the past years, Finnlines has made several important strategic decisions and focused on improving its operational and financial performance. During the past decade, we have spent over EUR 1 billion on major fleet renewal, green ship technology, propulsion systems, port technology, IT technology and ERP systems, and we are continuing to invest more through our EUR 70 million Energy Efficiency and Emission Reduction Programme. Under this investment programme, launched in 2017, we will lengthen four of our Breeze series ro-ro vessels, built in 2012 and 2013. These vessels will have a capacity increase of 30 per cent, meaning they will be able to carry up to 4,200 lane metres of rolling cargo. The capacity increase of around 1,000 lane metres will also considerably reduce the energy consumption per transported unit compared to the original vessel. As a result, we have been able to sharply reduce emissions per transported tonne. Two vessels have already been lengthened successfully and the remaining two will be completed by the end of April.
In response to growing volumes and market demand, Finnlines will continues to invest heavily in its fleet and has signed a letter of intent for three new 7,300 lane metre ro-ro vessels. Looking to 2018 and beyond, there are three strictly connected key elements in the way we are running our shipping business, worldwide in the Grimaldi Group, and also in Finnlines, that is – to grow together with the customers, to increase efficiency of capital employed on our fleet and to continue investing in sustainable development.”