The leading dry bulk cargo company in the Baltic Sea region
ESL Shipping’s competitive edge is based on its ability to secure product and raw material transportation for the industries and energy production year-round, even in difficult weather conditions. Its significant customer groups include the steel, energy and forest industries, and the food production chain. The shipping company also loads and unloads large ocean liners at sea as a special service.
ESL Shipping’s vessels mainly operate in contract traffic in the Baltic Sea and in Northern Europe. Transportation operations in the Baltic and North Seas are mostly based on long-term customer agreements and established customer relationships. ESL Shipping is also actively investigating opportunities to expand to growth markets in the Russian Arctic.
Major investments in the fleet
To provide flexible and reliable services for customers, a sufficiently large and interchangeable fleet is required. At the end of 2020, ESL Shipping had 50 vessel units in use, with a deadweight tonnage of more than 465,000 tonnes. Of these vessels, 24 were wholly owned, two were minority owned, and the remaining 24 were time chartered.
Aspo has invested more than EUR 100 million in ESL Shipping’s growth and the improved energy efficiency of its vessels during the past few years. Viikki and Haaga, the shipping company’s LNG-fueled vessels, fulfill the high requirements set for them in terms of lower emissions, and improved energy efficiency and load-handling capacity. In June, M/S Viikki became the first vessel in Finland to be fueled with liquid biogas, which enables nearly emission-free transportation to customers. The operations of Swedish shipping company AtoB@C have successfully been integrated into ESL Shipping.
During 2020, ESL Shipping suffered heavily from cuts in the production capacity in heavy industries due to the coronavirus pandemic. These had a significant impact on transportation volumes in international traffic at the beginning of the year, and in the shipping company’s main market areas in Europe from March until the third quarter. It has been vital to see to the health and safety of the shipping company’s personnel during the exceptional circumstances. In March, onshore personnel started to work remotely both in Finland and in Sweden, and the majority of the personnel continued remote working at the end of the year. Special focus was placed on the success of crew changes during the pandemic.
ESL Shipping was able to maintain its normal service capability and secure uninterrupted delivery chains for its customers in the exceptional operating conditions, in which crew changes, maintenance or spare parts deliveries could not be carried out normally due to the lack of flight connections and the issuance of travel restrictions. The few crew members infected with coronavirus were quarantined so that the infections were not able to spread or have any notable impact on vessel traffic.
Aspo’s goal is to continue to strengthen ESL Shipping’s position as the leading and most eco-friendly shipping company in the Baltic Sea – a company that continuously improves its profitability. ESL Shipping is well-prepared for the transition to fossil-free sea transportation, and its transportation volumes are recovering from the historical slump caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Investments in environmentally friendly vessels and the acquisition of AtoB@C lay a solid foundation for future growth and improved results.