hidden europe 13

Turbulent waters

by Nicky Gardner


Freight boats that take passengers, new routes and change aplenty as hidden europe reviews what's new in Europe's shipping schedules for 2007.

The year 2007 is shaping up to be very turbulent for European ferry operators, with more flux in the market than in the recent past. We are all well used to airline schedules chopping and changing with unfailing regularity, but ferry timetables have generally been models of stability. Not so this year!

In the cross-Baltic market, the gap left by the demise in 2005 of Silja Line's Finnjet service from the north German port of Rostock to Tallinn (and onward to Helsinki and / or St Petersburg) has been filled in part from mid January by the Estonian ferry operator Tallink (www.tallink. com). Tallink, having taken over Silja Line and the Baltic Sea operations of Superfast Ferries, has launched a new daily car ferry service from Rostock to Helsinki - with a connection for Tallinn. Many might have welcomed the return of the St Petersburg link, but the Estonian operator evidently has no appetite for serving Russia, and in fairness the old Finnjet service from Rostock to St Petersburg via Tallinn operated just ferry scan for two summer seasons (2004 and 2005) and was notably under-patronised.

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