Tallink ferries might be temporarily exempted from port dues at the Port of Riga
Due to the restrictions imposed on international passenger traffic and with the aim to reduce the prevalence of COVID-19, the Tallink ferry traffic between Riga and Stockholm has also been suspended. Thinking about solutions to support the port company in crisis at this moment, the Freeport of Riga Authority says it will decide on the possibility of temporarily releasing the two Tallink Line ferries, which are currently in forced downtime at the Port of Riga, from port dues.
“In this situation, we need to look for solutions to support our partners and overcome this crisis together, while thinking about the future when the situation returns to normal. Today any downtime has a particularly negative impact on passenger carriers, which suffer significant financial losses every day. These are the companies that provide jobs, pay taxes and support the economy of our country. Therefore, with the aim to provide support and help to overcome this difficult economic situation, we will decide on exempting both Tallink line ferries, remaining in the port, from the berthing due until it is possible to resume passenger traffic, ”comments Viesturs Zeps, Chairman of the Freeport of Riga Board.
On March 13 this year, the government decided to declare a state of emergency, stating that Latvia's border will be closed for international passenger traffic as of March 17, so both Tallink ferries carried out their last passenger transportation voyage and returned to the port of Riga on March 16.
On March 18, the Tallink ferry “Romantika”, in cooperation with the foreign services of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia and in compliance with the stringent security measures carried out an emergency voyage to Sassnitz, Germany with the aim to bring back Baltic citizens, which had problems returning to their home countries due to travel restrictions. The ferry arrived at the Freeport with 476 passengers on board, including 203 residents of Latvia. In total, more than 110 people were involved in passenger transportation from Germany to Riga, half of them being Tallink employees and another half - representatives of various responsible institutions and services.
Since March 19 both Tallink Line ferries - “Isabelle” and “Romantika” are idle and moored at the Port of Riga.
JSC “Tallink Latvija” has been operating in the port of Riga since 2006, and since 2011 it has been and remains the only passenger ferry line operating in the port of Riga. Over fourteen years of operation (2006-2019) more than 8 million people have used the line transportation services, and in 2019 more than 100 thousand passengers were transported by the line ferries.