Finnlines announced several major new enhancements to its successful TransRussiaExpress (TRE) service designed to increase capacity on this northern route and significantly expand its reach.
The changes will not only boost cargo movements between St Petersburg, the Baltic ports and beyond, but open up new opportunities for passenger traffic, particularly for German customers eager to access fascinating destinations in Russia and Latvia.
In the coming months, Finnlines will replace the MS Translubeca, currently operating in the service connecting Lubeck, Sassnitz and St. Petersburg, with the former MS Finnhansa, newly repurchased from Finnlines’ parent company Grimaldi and renamed MS Transrussia.
Transrussia is almost twice the size of Translubeca, with capacity for 3,200 lane metres of rolling cargo and 124 passengers, and a speed of 21 knots. It is also built to the highest ice-class standards, providing a guarantee of reliability in the toughest conditions. Transrussia is a sister ship of the MS Transeuropa, which already operates in the TRE service, shuttling directly between Lubeck and St. Petersburg.
The arrival of the Transrussia will also act as prelude to a significant expansion of the service. As Finnlines chief executive Uwe Bakosch puts it: “We will be adding calls at Ventspils and doubling the frequency of our calls at Sassnitz to twice weekly.
“We will therefore have two big sister ships calling Lubeck, Sassnitz, Ventspils and St. Petersburg every week. This will not only create new cargo possibilities within the Baltic but open up the passenger market between Germany, the Baltic Countries and Russia.
“We are working hard to expand our passenger service portfolio and we believe our customers in Hamburg, Rostock and Berlin will respond enthusiastically to the chance of accessing Riga through Ventspils, as well as St Petersburg, particularly now that Russia has loosened its visa requirements for cruise passengers.”
Mr. Bakosch added that the latest enhancements follow the recent extension of the company’s southern cargo service from Bilbao via Antwerp and Helsinki to St. Petersburg. “We believe strongly in the potential of the Russian market,” he said. “Its development will only be accelerated by stronger links with the ports of northern Germany in particular.
“Combined, these latest improvements will help us better serve that trade. They will not only strengthen the links between the Baltic ports but allow our cargo customers to access the wider Grimaldi network, and so the markets of the Mediterranean, Africa and the Americas, by transshipping through St. Petersburg and Antwerp.