Europe’s oldest ferry route between Sassnitz (Island of Rügen) and Trelleborg, Sweden closed by Stena Line after 110 years in service. Major impacts on international tourism for the region are to be expected after COVID19 travel restrictions are relaxed.
On March 16 the ferry SASSNITZ undertook her last crossing from Sweden to Sassnitz. The shipping company Stena Line decided to close the traditional rail ferry route completely after 110 years in service. According to Stena Line, the ferry route wasn’t efficient – partly because of the pandemic-induced travel restrictions, partly due to the tense economic situation caused by lower freight volumes. The last rail traffic passed the route in 2014.
The old ferry route was of great importance for international tourism between the region and Sweden. Additionally, the route was the fastest way to travel between Germany and South Sweden. The passage took no more than four hours. The alternative route Rostock-Trelleborg takes two hours longer than the closed ferry line.
The fading doom of the old ferry line
In the past years, only 300.000 passengers crossed the countries via the “king’s line” ((Swedisch: Kungslinjen) which is the typical German term for the traditional rail ferry route between Sassnitz/Rügen, Germany and Trelleborg, Sweden. It is named after Emperor Wilhelm II as King of Prussia and the Swedish King Gustav V. According to the association “Destination Rügen – Cruise & Ferry network” the yearly passenger potential is much higher – up to 500.000 people could have used the ferry with the right Marketing strategy and aligned timetables.
The doom of the ferry line already began eight years ago. At that time the ferry line was owned by the German-Dansk shipping company Scandlines and the Swedish shipping company Stena Line. In 2012 Scandlines sold all her shares which resulted in Stena Line being the sole owner of the ferry route. Two years later the freight traffic in Sassnitz was relocated to Rostock. Later on, the shipping company cut the number of crossings to twice a day. In September 2018, the number of ferry rides dropped to less than once a day.
The sad peak was reached in autumn 2019. During the two weeks of school holidays in Germany, which is usually a popular travel season for German tourists, only 4 ferry crossings between Sassnitz and Trelleborg took place. In the whole month of November, the passenger ferry only ran six times between Germany and Sweden. After that, Stena Line withdrew the ferry Sassnitz to support on the route Rostock-Trelleborg. Since the end of April, the ferry Sassnitz is not in service being located in Uddevalla, Sweden.
Tourism highly affected by the closure
The king’s line was the only passenger ferry route between Trelleborg and Sassnitz. At Stena Line, there will only be two rail ferries between Rostock and Trelleborg left.
The ferry connection and the island Rügen are particularly popular with the Swedes. Swedish tourists like the cultural sights of the island, especially the seaside resorts, which are not available in their country. But not only the island is particularly affected by the ferry line’s suspension. The Hanseatic city of Stralsund, once ruled by the Swedes, is also likely to feel the absence of the Scandinavian tourists. Missing excursions to Western Pomerania, for example along the cultural-historical “Schwedenstraße” (The Swedes street) to Brandenburg, will be expected due to the closing of the traditional ferry route.
A glimmer of hope: High-speed catamaran might be an option
The shipping company Weiße Flotte operating several ferry lines in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and in the area of Berlin considers relocating a high-speed catamaran, usually being in service by the company compound Unternehmensverbund Förde Reederei Seetouristik (FRS) between Marocco and Gibraltar, to the Baltic Sea. Weiße Flotte is part of the company network FRS. The federal state of Mecklenburg-Western Pommerania has promised 700.000 € financial support for the project. Rather than replacing the closed ferry line, a passenger line between Sassnitz/ Rügen and the Swedish city of Ystad might be planned. The high-speed catamaran can travel between Germany and South Sweden in two and a half hours. That might definitely be the fastest way to travel between the two countries!
The initiative belongs to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Goodwill Maritime Ambassador for Bulgaria Capt. Andriyan Evtimov.
The purpose is to have the document signed online by at least 150,000 people – the same number of seafarers blocked by theCOVID-19 and then send it to the IMO member-state governments with an appeal for immediate and urgent measures to facilitate the movement of seafaring personnel.
Are you spending more time at home than you would like to? Make the best out of it. We felt like returning something to our users. Therefore we dropped the daily time limits for Open Users. Open Users (free accounts) can use the FleetMon Explorer beyond 15 minutes per day. Feel free to track your favourite vessels all day every day until 1 June – no costs involved.
We used FleetMon’s historical AIS data to investigate irregularities year-over-year regarding vessel activity and maritime traffic at the Chinese coast and other crucial waterways related to Coronavirus spreading. Part 1/2
Vessel activity at Chinese Coast drops every year around Lunar New Year
In 2020: the drop lasts 6 weeks instead of 2 to 3 weeks due to Corona crisis
FleetMon investigated on the vessel activity of principal waterways via historical AIS data
No Coronavirus-related reduction in global vessel activity visible yet
We show you three activities on FleetMon made for real ship lovers to get Coronavirus pandemic out of your head.
Global Coronavirus led to minimizing public life and impacts our habits as well. Many people are not only forced to stay in quarantine at home but also voluntarily hide themselves away with their families. We show you three activities on FleetMon made for real ship lovers. To all the pilots, navigators, seafarers, long-term crew members, and ship spotters: Now is the perfect time to become involved in our community-based platform to forget the Coronavirus madness for a while.
Seven weeks ago, two heavyweight mobile cranes fell into the harbor basin during an accident in Rostock, Germany. Now the two cranes are finally recovered. The giant and powerful floating crane Hebo Lift 9, arriving from Rotterdam, took care of the risky salvage and lifted the LHM 550 harbor mobile cranes made by Liebherr out of the water.
FleetMon collaborates with worldwide logistics and shipping companies as well as with federal ministries, port authorities, and independent research institutes. Our extensive network, combined with over 13 years of experience, reveals our expertise and deep insights in vessel tracking and the shipping industry. Of course, FleetMon is aware of Greenhouse gas emissions debate and various parties’ viewpoints concerning the shipping industry’s effects on climate change and worldwide environmental pollution. Rather than to talk, FleetMon actively contributes to supporting transparency of CO2 emissions caused by commercial shipping.
In December 2019 FleetMon was invited to visit the Maritime Simulation Center Warnemünde (MSCW). The Maritime Simulation Center Warnemünde (MSCW) is part of the Department of Maritime Studies and a mandatory part of every maritime seagoing personnel education offered at the University of Applied Sciences, Technology, Business and Design in Wismar (Hochschule Wismar). Being located in Rostock Warnemünde, the center is not too far from the FleetMon headquarter. It is part of our FleetMon DNA to widen our horizons and strive for maritime expertise. For that reason, we like to organize team events and excursions on a regular basis. Besides that, it is always a lot of fun to spend some time with colleagues outside of the office.
Maritime Simulation Center Warnemünde
The Maritime Simulation Centre is the only one worldwide combining the simulation of nautical and technical vessel operations and a shore-based vessel traffic services simulator system. Four different simulator systems are to be found inside the center: A Ship Handling Simulator, a Ship Engine Simulator, a Vessel Traffic Services Simulator, and a Ship Safety & Security Trainer. The MSCW was built for education and training of the maritime seagoing personnel (e.g. nautical officers) and provides an excellent basis for research and development. We were especially interested to visit the Ship Handling Simulator and the Vessel Traffic Services Simulator.
In October 2019 a German producer and environmental activist turned to us in need of support for a documentary project. Together with his team, he examines if trash of German rivers could contribute to coastal pollution of the Lofoten, a group of islands in the north of Norway. The idea is to build buoys equipped with GPS devices and track their journey to demonstrate the flow of German plastics.
FleetMon values curiosity and ingenuity! We support the project team by sponsoring the first batch of GPS devices for free.
The devices will be placed inside customized buoys. The buoys are made of sustainable or recycled material to start their journey in the major German river Elbe to simulate how German trash might move.