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Western Baltija Shipbuilding will construct a new ferry to Smiltynės Perkėla, AB

2020 05 11
Western Baltija Shipbuilding will construct a new ferry to Smiltynės Perkėla, AB

The Western Shipyard (WSY) Group is about to implement an extraordinary project – Western Baltija Shipbuilding, a subsidiary of the WSY Group, has won the open international tender of Smiltynės Perkėla, AB for the construction of a new passenger/cargo ferry.

The contract for the construction of the new ferry was signed on 8 May. The transaction was approved and signed by Mr Mindaugas Čiakas, General Director of Smiltynės Perkėla, and Mr Vitalij Frolov, Director of Western Baltija Shipbuilding. The Heads of both companies were delighted to commence the construction of the new ferry and further cooperation and partnership.

M.Čiakas noted that the purpose of Smiltynės Perkėla is to ensure an uninterrupted, smooth and safe communication between the mainland Klaipėda and Smiltynė. More than 2 million people make use of this service, as well as 700 thousand vehicles are carried via the Curonian Lagoon every year.

‘The continuously growing flow of customers shows that the activities of Smiltynės Perkėla are vital and necessary. To increase our technical potential and improve the quality of services provided, we, on the approval of the shareholders and the Board of the company, conducted an open international tender for the construction of a new ferry. It is very gratifying that the vessel will be built by a Klaipėda-based company that employs a large number of the city residents, and I have no doubt that many of them use the services of our company. We hope that the new ferry will be modern, feature high-level technological solutions, serve for a long time and delight our customers,’ stated M. Čiakas.

V. Frolov noted that, despite the fact that Western Baltija Shipbuilding has constructed about 30 different ferries throughout its history, this project is not going to be just interesting but also very special.

‘It is both a challenge and a source of pride, because we will always be able to see the result of our work and evaluate it by using the ferry ourselves. We are building the ferry for our city, its residents and guests, which obliges us to make an even greater effort and strive to achieve the best result. The vessel to be built is not a serial product: it is to be constructed according to the project specifically developed for Smiltynės Perkėla, taking into account the vision of the company and the needs of passengers. Therefore, the work on this project will be very exciting. We hope to be able to meet all the expectations of both the customer and future passengers,’ emphasised V. Frolov.

A universal passenger/cargo ferry, 60 metres long and 14 metres wide will be built for Smiltynės Perkėla. The vessel will be able to carry up to 1,000 passengers, or at least 40 passenger cars plus 600 passengers, or eight cargo vehicles with a total weight of up to 44 tons each. The hull of the ferry will be constructed of steel and the superstructure of aluminium used in the marine industry. The vessel will have four loading / unloading ramps and diesel propulsion. The design work will be undertaken by Western Baltic Engineering, another subsidiary of WSY Group, known and valued in the market for modern and innovative solutions. The new ferry has to be built and ready for operation no later than fourteen months after the contract start date. It is planned that the ferry will operate from both the New Ferry Terminal and the Old Ferry Terminal.

Mr Arnoldas Šileika, CEO of WSY Group, commented, ‘Shipbuilding remains a priority for our group of companies and our goal is to be the shipbuilders of the future. We are an international group of companies and the majority of our customers are foreign enterprises. However, we are always happy to work for the market in our own country - in this particular case, to work on a turnkey shipbuilding project. Local orders not only help the company to preserve jobs and wages, especially when the economic situation all around the world is not favourable, but also to contribute to a stable collection of taxes for the country's budget and to the growth of the country’s gross domestic product. We are pleased that by implementing this project we will contribute to the growth of the country’s economy, as well as our personal growth at the same time.’

85 percent of the funds required for the construction of the new ferry will be provided by OP Corporate Bank Plc, Lithuanian branch, a Finnish bank with whom Smiltynės Perkėla has signed a project finance agreement. It is hoped that this project of the company will not be the only one of interest to large international banks.

‘The construction of the universal passenger/cargo ferry is just a part of the strategic plans of Smiltynės Perkėla, AB aimed at improving the quality of its carriage services. In the near future, we plan to conduct an international open tender for the construction of another passenger ferry, to reconstruct the quays in the mainland Klaipėda and Smiltynė, and to install new ferry loading/unloading ramps, as well as information and video transmission stands integrated into the company’s IT system. Next year, the construction of a modern passenger service and administrative building is scheduled to begin, and the reconstruction of the area of the New Ferry Terminal is planned to be completed. The anticipated total investment for these projects is over 20 million euros’, shared the plans Mr Valdemaras Vaičekauskas, Chairman of the Board of Smiltynės Perkėla.

 

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