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Author: Subject: Silja Line - Beginning of the end?
O. Gräsbeck
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[*] posted on 12-9-2008 at 20:10
Silja Line - Beginning of the end?


I'd like to say a hello to everyone here on the forums, since I'm new here.

I've been thinking about this many times, and now I'd like to hear what you would say about the Silja Line's future. Silja Line - Beginning of the end?

Now, a friend of mine who worked earlier on Silja Festival, moved now over to Silja Galaxy. As we have seen, Galaxy has Tallink funnel marks on her and just small Silja Line fonts on the sides. This friend of mine told me that Tallink is planning to change the funnel marks on Silja's ships to Tallink's funnel marks, and that all the ships would have new marks in 2010.

Now if this will happen, it actually means that the good ol' seal would dissapear.. And what would then be next? Renaming it all to Tallink and simply end the Silja Line trademark?

If we're thinking a bit, the name Tallink wouldn't be really related to the ferry traffic between Sweden and Finland. How about renaming it all to something completely new? Like.. ''Baltic Lines''?

Last time when I were on Silja Symphony on my birthday cruise, I bought this book ''Siljan viisi vuosikymmentä'' (translated, ''Silja's fifty decades''), the story of Silja Line.

In the beginning the new executive director Keijo Mehtonen describes Silja's flagships Serenade and Symphony as ships growing to their mature age. He thinks as a possible option to sell both ships to the Far East for casino-cruises and fill the Promenades with gambling slots. Now this would mean that the amount of the ''original'' Silja Line ships would reduce from three to one, leaving Silja Europa as the only surviving ship of Silja Line.

This would most likely lead to new ships on the Helsinki-Stockholm line - but for wich shipment? Would Silja Line still last, or would this be the end of an era, and the beginning of a new Tallink, the biggest shipment on the Baltic Sea?

I would like to hear what you think about the future of Silja Line - will it totally fuse Silja to Tallink, or is there perharps going to be a new buyer, who would change everything?

Regards,
O. Gräsbeck
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[*] posted on 14-9-2008 at 16:39


Thanks for commenting. Yes, if Tallink would suprise it wouldn't be an impossible thought if they decided to recolor Galaxy to an complete Silja-ship. As myself I would really apperciate if Tallink will keep the firms apart and operate them under different strategies, as you said.

And I wouldn't really praise the new, mighty bosses, actually I don't like Keijo Mehtonens visions about Siljas future at all.

But, we'll see what happens.
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[*] posted on 17-9-2008 at 01:44


Quote:
If Tallink would surprise...


Actually they do surprise me almost day by day, negatively ;) Their Club One program is just one example for customer service has actually fallen apart from Silja's original Club Silja. I was for one or two years Club Silja Gold card holder. That meant nice things, a 5€ drink coupon for every person on the booking on every check in, free newspapers, 1,5 times points on taxfree and so on. Now that Tallink came into the game, Club One was established and positioned as if it was the greatest thing ever, practically they cut down the drink coupons and newspapers, added a submission fee to the club and highered the points needed for a free bonus trip tremendously.

No surprise, I fell back to silver and I have to say I haven't used the new Club One card even once. And most probably I will fall back to Bronze Status in April 09 and then somewhen they will kick me, but I'm happy with that as long as I can rely on Viking Line.




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[*] posted on 17-9-2008 at 19:04


You're right about that Mathias, Tallink suprises day by day, negatively. I'm getting pretty mad of the thought that Tallink is slowly putting Silja Line totally down. Somehow, the estonian people are often disliked from all countries. Well, Silja Line has already been in foreign hands for a while, but now Tallink also wants to take down Finlands oldest, still working ship operator.
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[*] posted on 17-9-2008 at 22:24


Quote:
Originally posted by O. Gräsbeck Finlands oldest, still working ship operator.

Depends on when you define Silja to have started of course.




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[*] posted on 18-9-2008 at 17:00


Well, Silja Line started as Siljavarustamo in 1957..
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[*] posted on 18-9-2008 at 17:16


Finnlines started in 1948, while Bore Line (although I'm not sure if they're still technically Finnish) started all the way back in 1898 - and these are just the ones I can remember off-the-hat; chances are there are older still companies that I don't know about.



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[*] posted on 20-9-2008 at 17:45


Well, you're actually right about that, but compared with companies that started Silja (Svea, FÅA and Bore) only Bore exists today, as a cargo company. Finnlines is focused mostly on cargo transport today, so Silja Line is in my opinion the oldest of it's own kind.
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[*] posted on 22-9-2008 at 16:41


Finnlines today have more passenger-carrying ships than Silja (though their capacity is obviously smaller than the Silja ships). Also, your original definition was "oldest, still working ship operator", no mention of passenger shipping. :P I do admit Silja is the oldest still-operating Finnish shipping company that has trhough-out it's history concentrated mainly on passenger services. :lol:



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[*] posted on 23-9-2008 at 09:54


Are we counting peas now..? ;)



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[*] posted on 27-9-2008 at 19:06


Quote:
Originally posted by Kepa
There is going to be a demand for a new Finnjet.


Really? See Finnlines serving the route Helsinki-Travemünde as the main direct operator between Finland and Germany (as they were once they had the Finnjet and her predecessors)

Tallink instead is constantly running down the Superfast service with deminishing volumes. One ship already withdrawn and chartered out, two left with the doubt whether they are there to stay for long.

A ship like the Finnjet will not be seen between Finland and Germany - at least for a long time. Why? There is no economic basis for such a traffic. The future lies in those huge RoPax vessels type Finnstar and sisters, which can take quite some passengers but make their money with freight.
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[*] posted on 27-9-2008 at 19:10


Quote:
I do admit Silja is the oldest still-operating Finnish shipping company that has trhough-out it's history concentrated mainly on passenger services. :lol:


Well, but Silja is neither a shipping company any more, nor a finnish company...

There is not much shipping left in finnish hands. Finnlines belongs to Grimaldi, Silja to Tallink, Transfennica to Spliethoff. So what is left? Viking, Eckerö, Birka, Bore and the newcomer Stella Lines...
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[*] posted on 27-9-2008 at 23:05


Quote:
Originally posted by Marko

Well, but Silja is neither a shipping company any more, nor a finnish company...

There is not much shipping left in finnish hands. Finnlines belongs to Grimaldi, Silja to Tallink, Transfennica to Spliethoff. So what is left? Viking, Eckerö, Birka, Bore and the newcomer Stella Lines...

Good point. Also, Eckerö owns Birka these days don't they, so it's just Viking, Eckerö, Bore and Stella... :umm:




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[*] posted on 28-9-2008 at 14:43


Quote:
Originally posted by Kepa
Unless you're a ship-fan, which I'm not, the current ships that Finnlines uses between Travemünde and Helsinki, are simply too slow and too boring for the bigger public.

25 knots is too slow? The Star-class ships take 26 hours for a crossing - that's just four hours more than Jetti at her fastest back with the original timetable.

I have to agree with Marko about this - there is simply no economical base for a ship like the Finnjet in the Finland-Germany traffic. Finnlines' and Superfast's ropaxes (as dull as they are) heralded the downfall of Jetti by offering a cheaper alternative. Up until 1994 Finnjet was essentially your only option if you were sailing to Germany, and with little to no competition the "upper-class" ship could stay afloat on the service. However, the passenger looking for a premium travel experience made (and make) only a small fraction of the passenger base. This combined with today's expensive fuel prices makes the idea of another Finnjet impossible; even when she was the sole passenger ship in Finland-Germany service the one and only original Jetti was unprofitable. Today a ship like that couldn't stand a chance.




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[*] posted on 30-9-2008 at 15:11


Quote:
Originally posted by Kepa
You gents should have joined this "saving of the ship" - mission. Terrific people and terrific contacts and the most delicious of rumours and plans. It's blissful to have facts to go with your opinions.

I have to say I'm mildly offended by this comment. You have no idea about the reasons why I did or did not participate in the attempt to save the ship, and rubbing my face on the fact is in my opinion somewhat bad manner.
Returning to the subject at hand; as delightful as rumours and "inside" information are, the fact that a company are looking into something doesn't mean it will be realised. I could name three plans made by a certain Finnish shipping company I know of through my contacts that were never realised. Based on what I know about the Finland-Germany run, the circumstances of the route in the past and at the moment, and the opinions of various people with a better understanding of economics than me, I strongly doubt a premium ship akin to Finnjet will be seen on the route in the near future.

That doesn't nescessarily mean we couldn't see a freight-oriented ship with more cruiseferry-like features on the route, but based on the informating at my disposal I cannot see a new operator entering the very high-expense route in the near future nor any of the established operators ordering new ships within the next 10-20 years.




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[*] posted on 1-10-2008 at 15:38


Quote:
Originally posted by Kepa
(thanks to the semi-socialist economy)

Then again, without the semi-socialist economy there never would have been a Finnjet in the first place... she was, after all, built for a state-owned company.




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