The European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed a EUR 70 million (USD 78.9 million) loan with the Finnish-Swedish consortium Kvarken Link Oy with the aim of improving the ferry connection between the two countries.
With the funding, Kvarken Link Oy finance a new ferry to transport passengers and vehicles between the ports of Umeå in Sweden and Vaasa in Finland.
The new ice-class RoPax ferry, to transport up to 800 passengers, would be built by Rauma Marine Constructions in Finland to high environmentally friendly specifications with hybrid propulsion. With a length of 150 metres, the passenger/car ferry is scheduled for delivery in 2021, and will operate under the Finnish flag.
“Vaasa and Umeå have been connected by ferry since 1958. When the original service went bankrupt in 2011, the municipalities took it upon them to continue the service – and with success. The growing demand in both passengers and freight now warrants a modern ship to keep both cities connected,” Alexander Stubb, EIB Vice-President, said.
The vessel will be equipped with a hybrid propulsion system with a combination of a dual-fuel engine (LNG/LBG and diesel) and batteries, as well as an electrically driven azimuth propeller system.
The project also involves port upgrade works required for the reception of the new vessel at the ferry terminals in the cities of Vaasa and Umeå.