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Estonian Review: August 2-8, 2006

08.08.2006

FOREIGN NEWS
DEFENCE NEWS
DOMESTIC NEWS
ECONOMIC NEWS

 

FOREIGN NEWS

Estonian Embassy in the Netherlands Started Working On New Premises

Aug 2 - The Estonian embassy in the Netherlands began work in new premises where also consular services are provided.

The embassy is located in a four-storied house in the centre of the Hague. Purchase of new premises and its refurbishment for the needs of the embassy cost 30 million kroons (EUR 1.9 mln).

The new address of the embassy is 92, Zeestraat, the Hague. The telephone and fax numbers remained unchanged.

 

Estonian, Latvian Interior Ministers Discussed Cross-border Police Cooperation

Aug 3 - Estonian Interior Minister Kalle Laanet met in Valka, Latvia, with his Latvian colleague Dzintars Jaundzeikars and discussed the possibilities of increasing the efficiency of cross-border police cooperation to compensate for dangers that could arise on EU interior borders after border controls are discontinued on borders within the EU.

As the main issue of the meeting the ministers discussed organization of information exchange between Estonian and Latvian law enforcement bodies to step up cooperation to fight cross-border crime.

Also the current state of the preparations to accession to the Schengen legal space and discuss readiness to the assessment were discussed. In September Estonia will face assessment of the land border, police cooperation and data protection.

 

Estonian National Kidnapped In Russia's Dagestan

Aug 7 - The Estonian Foreign Ministry sent a letter to the Russian counterpart ministry in connection with the kidnapping of a 19-year-old woman, a citizen of Estonia, in the Caucasian republic of Dagestan.

The Russian Foreign Ministry promised to immediately make an official inquiry to the relevant authorities of Dagestan. The Russian ministry also said it would appoint a contact who will inform Estonia about all the latest developments.

The chairman of the Dagestani cultural society in Estonia, Apandi Mahmudov, turned to the Estonian Foreign Ministry for help after her 19-year-old daughter was kidnapped while in Dagestan during her visit.

Representatives for the interior ministry of Dagestan have confirmed the fact of kidnapping which took place on Aug. 3 as four men forced their way into the flat where Mahmudova was staying and took her away in a car. Authorities in Dagestan believe that the young woman was kidnapped to be married of.

 

Estonian Children under Scrutiny by Russian Authorities in Mari El Camp

Aug 8 - Authorities in Russia kept a watchful eye on a group of Estonian children who visited the Republic of Mari El to meet with their peers from the Finno-Ugric peoples living in Russia and even took their fingerprints, without having any valid grounds.

Jaak Prozes, Head of the Finno-Ugric Center, said that if overall the 15th Finno-Ugric Youth Camp in the Volzsk region of the republic of Mari El was organized well, the authorities also kept a close eye on the activities of the Estonian delegation.

Therefore the Estonians almost fully lacked opportunities to communicate with locals on their own. Also, fingerprints were taken from the Estonians by local police referring to non-existing European laws.

Ten 13 to 17-year-old Estonians from various parts of the country attended the Jalchik camp together with adult supervisors. The camp was open between July 28 and Aug. 7.

Prozes drew parallels between the attitude of the Russian authorities toward the young people attending this year's camp and what happened to young Estonians in the same republic last summer, when 17 Estonian art students arriving in Mari El from the neighbouring Chuvash Republic were shortly expelled by local police.

Russia views with suspicion the assistance given by the Finno-Ugric nations of Estonia, Finland and Hungary to the Finno-Ugric peoples living in various parts of Russia to uphold their identities and has especially in recent years cracked down on the national movement of Mari El.

 

DEFENCE NEWS

Senior NATO Officer Visited Estonia

Aug 4 - Maj. Gen. Frank H. J. Hye, NATO Supreme Allied Commander Transformation's Representative in Europe, visited Estonia at the invitation of commander of the Estonian Defence Forces Vice Adm. Tarmo Kõuts.

Maj. Gen, Hye met with Vice Adm. Kõuts. During the meeting officers of the general staff gave the general an overview of the plans of development of the Estonian Defence Forces and Estonia's participation in operations abroad.

They also informed Gen. Hye of the technical means, weapons and equipment used at operations abroad.

Gen. Hye held a lecture on the transformation of NATO at the Baltic Defence College in Tartu.

 

Deputy Commander of Intl Forces in Iraq Met with ESTPLA-13

Aug 2 - Brig. Gen. Pier Paolo Lunelli, Deputy Chief of the Multinational Forces in Iraq, visited the Estonian infantry platoon ESTPLA-13.

The aim of the general's visit was to get an overview of the duties and weaponry of the Estonian unit and meet with Estonian soldiers.

Brig. Gen. Lunelli said that in the Iraqi conflict where the opposite side resorted to wide use of improvised explosive devices, the soldiers' training plays an important role, and underlined that the Estonians' training and action was fully comparable to that of western countries' soldiers. He said different countries' participation gave the necessary legitimacy to the operation. "At the same time participation in a real conflict gives the soldiers the opportunity to test their own training, to deepen their skills and experience and put themselves to test in a real conflict," Brig. Gen Lunelli said.

During the meeting at the Taji military base, Lt. Meelis Jõemaa, commander of the Estonian infantry platoon, gave Brig. Gen. Lunelli an overview of the duties and sphere of responsibility of the unit. Commanders of the Estonian infantry platoon and Estonian staff officers serving in Iraq also took part in the meeting.

 

Estonian Minister Would Like Observer in Lebanon to Continue

Aug 2 - Estonian Defence Minister Jürgen Ligi said he supported the continued presence of the Estonian observer in Lebanon.

Ligi said after a discussion of the situation in Lebanon and the future of Estonian observers and the mission of the Estonian representatives should be continue at least until the United Nations found it was expedient to keep its observers in Lebanon. "The military situation has changed but the presence of Estonian representatives is necessary for the local people and for Estonia in foreign policy terms," he added, referring to other countries' conduct.

Capt. Madis Morel and Maj. Ove Voore are on a one-year mission in the Middle East under the auspices of the United Nations. Morel serves in southern Lebanon and Voore in Syria.

 

Estonia's Kuusalu Training Ground Service Center to Cost EUR 4.2 Mln

Aug 4 - A 65 million kroon (EUR 4.2 mln) service center at the Estonian Defence Forces Kuusalu training ground will be completed by next year.

Representatives of the Defence Ministry and the Skanska EMV contractor signed a contract for the building of a service centre in the defence forces' central Kuusalu training ground.

The complex comprising a staff building, a field mess hall, workshop, well house and boiler house complete with the necessary infrastructure and installations must be completed by the end of next June.

Defence Minister Jürgen Ligi said that construction of the service centre in the central training ground is the first step in the development of the site, which is of great importance for the defence forces. Development of the Kukepalu shooting ground will be tackled next in the framework of the same project.

 

DOMESTIC NEWS

Survey: Seven in Ten Residents Support Estonia's EU Membership

Aug 4 - Seven in ten Estonian residents are in favour of Estonia being a member of the European Union (EU), the percentage of supporters being higher among non-Estonian speakers, a recent poll revealed.

70 percent of the Estonian population aged from 15 to 74 are in favour of Estonia being a member of the EU, with equally high support in all age groups, the State Chancellery reported.

For the third month running the percentage of support is higher among non-Estonian speakers than ethnic Estonians.

If about two thirds of ethnic Estonians are in favour of the country's EU membership, then among non-Estonians the percentage is above three quarters.

Adoption of the euro is supported by 41 percent of the residents with 49 percent against and 10 percent undecided. Concerning postponement of the switch to the euro, 23 percent find that it would be good if it wasn't ever adopted in Estonia, while the attitude of 14 percent is neutral as Estonia's economic stability is already guaranteed by the kroon being tied to the euro.

Less than ten percent of the population find that postponement of the transition to the euro is bad for various reasons.

The poll showed that the best known of all EU information services and sources is the European Union's information portal, www.europa.eu, which 26 percent of the population had heard of and which 19 percent of those that had heard of at least one information service had used.

A free EU information telephone, which 21 percent had heard of and 3 percent had used, and Euroveeb, known by 18 percent and used by 9 percent followed the two front-runners.

 

Estonian Govt Wants To Open Freedom Monument on 90th Anniversary of the Republic

Aug 4 - The Estonian Government has set the aim of opening the monument to victory in the War of Independence at Vabaduse Square in Tallinn on the 90th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia, February 24,2008.

Prime Minister Andrus Ansip told reporters that the 90th anniversary of the republic would be a suitable date to open the victory monument.

The government allocated 815,000 kroons (EUR 52,000) from its reserve to the Defence Ministry for the organization of a competition for the monument concept.

According to the government's idea the monument should perpetuate the Estonian victory in the War of Independence of 1918-1920 and symbolize the idea of freedom in a wider sense.

 

PM: State Must Control Erection of Monuments

Aug 3 - Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip said it was logical if the erection of monuments was under the control of the central government in Estonia.

Ansip told reporters at the government's press conference that the present situation where the erection of monuments was in local governments' competence was not normal as a local government could put up anything it wanted.

The Justice Ministry is preparing a new law giving the state the right to interfere into the erection and removal of monuments. Ansip said that the Justice Ministry had started to work out the bill at his orders.

 

ECONOMIC NEWS

Currency Rates in Kroons
(Bank of Estonia)

Estonia's EconMin, Finland's Trade Minister Spoke about Energy Security

Aug 7 - Estonian Minister of Economy and Communications Edgar Savisaar and the Finnish minister of trade and industry, Mauri Pekkarinen, during their meeting spoke about cooperation between the two countries in energy, matters related to the Estlink cable and security of gas supply for Finland, Estonia and Latvia.

Heido Vitsur, adviser to the Estonian minister, said interest toward matters of energy security was very high on both sides of the Gulf of Finland. "The issue of energy is the key issue in today's world, both in terms of economy as well as relations between different countries," he said.

The ministers more specifically dwelt on the topic of a gas pipeline between Estonia and Finland and the possibility of linking it with the Russia-Germany gas pipeline.

Also discussed was unification of the electricity markets, which will materialize when the Estlink undersea cable is completed. The cable is due operational by the end of November.

 

Estonian Officials: Inflation to Remain at Higher Than 4 Pct

Aug 7 - According to analysts of the Estonian Finance Ministry and the Bank of Estonia the year-on-year inflation would remain at higher than four percent for the time being.

"A new cycle in the rise of oil prices started on the world market at the beginning of July and it will also be reflected in our consumer price index. The prices of vegetables continued to grow, too, as did expenses connected with housing," said Andres Saarniit, adviser of the Bank of Estonia central bank policy.

Saarniit said that as no fall in oil prices was anywhere in sight and the dry summer was unfavourable to farmers, there was little likelihood that the pace of inflation would fall under 4 percent in the near future.

Also in the euro zone the growth in consumer prices has been higher than recommended, or around 2.5 percent. The aim of the European central bank is to keep the eurozone inflation at a level slightly under two percent.

Commenting on the consumer price index for July, the Finance Ministry said that price pressures accompanying strong domestic demand and higher energy prices have not made it possible for the inflation to slow down very much.

An average rise in the consumer prices by more than four percent could be expected also in the second half of the year. It is largely due to administrative price rises connected with housing this fall.

A certain slow-down in the growth of the Estonian average year-on-year price index could only be expected at the beginning of next year.

This July the Estonian consumer price index grew by 4.5 percent on year and by 0.5 percent on month.

 

22 Environmental Projects to Get Support from EU Structural Funds

Aug 4 - Twenty-two environmental projects in Estonia have been approved for support from the European Regional Development Fund in the amount of 37 million kroons (EUR 2.36 mln) in the last round of selection for the 2004-06 financing period.

Applicants asked for over 133 million kroons in support, which exceeded the amount of funds to be distributed more than four times. European assistance will however be supplemented by domestic co financing in the amount of 7.1 million kroons.

By the decision the environment minister the most applications were satisfied in the field of waste handling. The eight approved projects will get 11.7 million kroons of European support.

Renewable energy is the area that is to get the biggest assistance, with 14.9 million kroons to be distributed among four projects. Of the total amount, almost eight million kroons will come from the ERDF and seven million, from domestic resources.

Four biological and landscape diversity projects were granted 6.7 million kroons in all. In the field of water use and protection, the minister approved six projects worth 10.8 million kroons.

Projects for environmental infrastructure development were granted a total of 150 million kroons in 2004-06. The next structural funds financing period runs from 2007 till 2013.

 

Estonia: Consumer Price Index Up 4.5 Pct on Year in July

Aug 7 - The prices of goods and services were an average of 4.5 percent higher this July than in July 2005, the Statistical Office reported.

The hike in administratively regulated prices of goods and services was by 5.7 percent and in non-regulated prices by 4.1 percent.

Compared with June the consumer prices were 0.5 percent higher in July.

In July compared with June the consumer price index was affected the most by a rise in the price of motor fuel, housing, vegetables as well as discounts in clothing and footwear.

The prices of grocery items went up by 1.1 percent against June in July and those of manufactured goods by 0.1 percent, leading to an average rise in the price of services by 0.5 percent.

The rise in the price of services against July was by 0.6 percent. The cost of transport increased by 1.0 percent, housing costs by 0.9 percent and medical services by 0.6 percent.

On year expenses on housing increased by 9.9 percent, on transport by 5.9 percent, on food by 4.6 percent and on leisure time activities by 4.8 percent.

 

Supervisory Council Confirms Liive Board Chairman Of Power Utility

Aug 8 - Supervisory council of the Estonian Eesti Energia (Estonian Energy) power utility, meeting on the issue of election of the board chairman, confirmed Sandor Liive as board chairman for the next three years.

The supervisory council heard four candidates' visions of the Eesti Energia management.

The supervisory council did not disclose the names of the candidates, besides that of Liive. The energy company must be guided on principles of conservatism and Liive's advantage was his earlier work in the company leadership and as CEO.

 

Bank of Estonia Assets up By 43.6 Mln In July

Aug 7 - The Bank of Estonia total assets increased by 682.5 million kroons (EUR 43.6 mln) or 2.5 percent in July, making up 28.4 billion kroons by the end of the month.

The Bank of Estonia gold and net foreign currency reserves stood at 26.7 billion kroons as of the end of July, after increasing by 734.8 million kroons or 1.8 percent during the month.

The Bank of Estonia unencumbered reserve grew by 59.2 million kroons or 1.7 percent in July, amounting to 3.6 billion kroons.

The demand for base money increased in July by 680 billion kroons or 3 percent. The sum total of base money by the end of July was 23.1 billion kroons, including 12.2 billion kroons account money and 10.9 billion kroons cash.

Estonian kroons to the tune of 5.8 billion kroons were bought from the Bank of Estonia during July, and 5.1 billion Estonian kroons were sold to the Bank of Estonia against foreign currency.

The sum total of the Central Bank capital, reserves, retained profit and total profit increased in July by 25.8 million kroons, amounting to 3.9 billion kroons.

 

Estonian Energy Swells Net Profit 15 Times

Aug 3 - Estonia's state-owned national power company Eesti Energia (Estonian Energy) posted sales of 1.621 billion kroons (EUR 103.58 mln) and a net profit of 532 million kroons for the first three months of its new business year that started in April.

Eesti Energia invested in the first three months of the 2006-07 financial year 537 million kroons in the renovation of production units and power networks.

The national grid continued the development of the strategically important Narva-Tallinn network and the construction of the Estlink underwater cable connecting Estonia and Finland.

The firm intends to invest more than 2.5 billion kroons during the 2006-07 financial year.

 

Estonian Energy Plans To Multiply Shale Oil Output

Aug 3 - The strategic aim of Eesti Energia (Estonian Energy) is to raise the annual production of shale oil by 2010 to 500,000 tons from the present 130,000 tons, the state-owned power supplier says in its interim report for the first three months of the current financial year.

"Eesti Energia possesses unique know-how in the field of large-scale mining and processing of oil shale to produce electricity and oil. Given the present-day relatively high crude prices, technological developments and political realities of the Middle East, adding value to oil shale through oil production is becoming more and more important beside electric and thermal power production," the company says.

Eesti Energia sold 26,000 tons of shale oil in the first three months of the 2006-07 financial year, earning 106 million kroons (EUR 6.77 mln). Operating profit from this branch of activity reached almost 75 million kroons.

 

Estonia Could Hold Four Large Combined Heat and Power Plants - Eesti Energia

Aug 3 - Estonia has potential for generating around 750 gigawatt-hours of electricity annually in combined heat and power plants fired by renewable energy and waste.

There is potential in Estonia for four large cogeneration plants with an electrical capacity of 20 megawatts and annual heat production of 600 GWh, the head of the renewable energy arm of the national power supplier Eesti Energia (Estonian Energy). In addition, about a dozen medium-capacity plants with an electrical capacity of 3 MW and 90 GWh thermal power capacity could be built in this country, to which single smaller plants at the largest sawmills could be added.

Such plants' aggregate capacity could be around 100 MW and annual electricity generation, about 750 GWh. The necessary precondition for building a cogeneration plant is the existence of heat consumers, distant heating network and electricity network, plus the producer's good cooperation with both the local self-government and the operator of the distant heating network.

Cogeneration of electricity and heat allows to use fuel in a more effective and environment-friendly way, keep the cost price of both heat and electric power lower, and offer an extra capacity for peak consumption.

 

Estonian Banks' Internet Clients Total 1,28 Mln At End July

Aug 7 - Estonian commercial banks had 1,282,632 Internet banking clients as of the end of July and 211,607 telephone bank clients.

Hansapank's Internet bank, Hanza.net, had 683,746 users as of the end of July, 2,956 more than at the end of June. Contracts signed for Hansapank's telephone bank operator service numbered 26,393 at the end of July, 376 more than a month earlier.

SEB Eesti Uhispank has 403,754 U-Net users and 31,388 U-Net Business users as the end of July. The number of Uhispank's telephone bank clients was 6,372 in July and of the mobile bank clients 48,080.

Nordea Bank acquired 460 users of its Solo Internet service in July. In all the bank has 25,988 Internet banking clients. All Nordea Bank's Internet clients can automatically also use its telephone service.

Sampo Bank had 121,327 internet bank users, 2,203 more than in June as of the end of July. The number of Sampo Bank's telephone bank users increased by 2,148 during the month, bringing the total number of its telephone bank users to 104,774.

Krediidipank had 15,314 valid Internet bank contracts as of the end of July,. During the month the number of Internet bank users increased by 191.

Parex Bank had 1,115 Internet bank contracts as of the end of the previous month.

Krediidipank and Parex Bank do not provide telephone bank services to their clients.

 

Estonian Banks Plan to Review Deposit Interest Rates

Aug 4 - Due to the European Central Bank's decision to raise base interest rates, the major commercial banks in Estonia plan to review their rates too. "In view of the European Central Bank's interest rise, we are about to review our own deposit interest rates," spokeswoman for Hansapank Kristiina Tamberg said.

Ott Jalakas, departmental head at SEB Eesti Ühispank, said the bank will in connection with the ECB decision review during next week all the interest rates on term deposits.

Communications manager for Sampo Pank Anneli Rouk likewise confirmed to BNS plans to review deposit interest rates. Rates will rise at the beginning of next week, she said.

Nordea Bank reviews its deposit interest rates regularly and changes them in accordance with base interest changes and the market situation, marketing specialist Tauno Tohk said. "We don't see an immediate need to raise interest rates," he added.

 

Estonians Offered Virtual Loans without Contract, Guarantee

Aug 7 - A totally new loan service has arrived on the Estonian market -- virtual loans without guarantee via SMS or the Internet, with no need to visit a bank or lending office or sign a loan contract.

At least two companies, Ferratum Estonia and SMS Laen, offer such opportunities as of August. These are virtual loan offices not controlled by the financial supervisory authority.

Ferratum offers loans of 1,000 (EUR 64), 2,000 or 3,000 kroons for 15 or 30 days. The loan is quite expensive for the lender. Taking a loan of 1,000

kroons for 15 days, one has to pay 200 kroons and 300 kroons in case of 30 days. This means that the loan interest, which the lender calls the loan handling fee, is 30 percent a month or 360 percent a year.

Applying for a loan by SMS it is necessary to send to the lending office a message stating the sum and term of the loan, the lender's name, personal identification code, address and the bank account number.

The lending office will immediately analyze the information with the applicant having to confirm the wish to take the loan by a return message. To take a loan via the Internet is even simpler. The notice of the repayment deadline and the sum to be repaid is sent to the client by mail.

Ferratum Estonia board member Jaanus Kart said the company had accumulated a couple of hundred clients within the first week. The company has operated since the beginning of last year in Finland. The service became popular there and therefore it extended also the Estonia and Sweden. The loan contract is accessible in the Internet but Kart said under the Law of Obligations Act there is no neeed to sign it. The lender's signature is the word "sobib" (Accept), which he sends to the lending office after receiving their reply.

Services analogous with those of Ferratum Estonia will soon be offered also by SMS Laen, which is based on Estonian capital.

 

Shareholders in Estonian Shipper Tallink Agree To Increase Stock Capital

Aug 2 - Shareholders in the Estonian shipping company Tallink Grupp gave at an extraordinary general meeting today the green light to expanding the firm's stock capital in order to fulfill the conditions arising from the acquisition of Silja Oy AB shares.

The company is going to issue for this 28.3 million new shares with a nominal value of 10 kroons apiece, raising the stock capital to 1.698 billion kroons (EUR 108.5 mln).

In addition, the shareholders ruled to increase the number of Tallink Grupp board members to 5-7.

 

Estonian Media Concern Ekspress Grupp Nearly Triples H1 Profit

Aug 2 - The Estonian media concern Ekspress Grupp almost tripled its profit in the first half of this year to 47.6 million kroons (EUR 3.04 mln).

The group's consolidated sales, at 446.4 million kroons, were up by one-third against the same period last year, the company reported today. Sales growth came from publishing houses' larger advertising turnovers, strong sales results of the Printall printing house and bookshops, and the addition of Ekspress Hotline to the concern.

According to Ekspress Grupp, also its Lithuanian operation ended the first half of the year with a profit. Ekspress Leidyba posted a million-kroon profit compared to a loss of half a million kroons in the first half of 2005. Ekspress Leidyba publishes 17 magazines, among them the monthly Panele which has the largest readership in Lithuania.

Ekspress Grupp is the owner of the weekly Eesti Ekspress, printing house Printall, Lithuanian magazines group Ekspress Leidyba, and Rahva Raamat bookstores. The concern also has 50 percent stakes in Ekspress Hotline, Eesti Paevaleht, SL Ohtuleht, Ajakirjade Kirjastus and Express Post.

Ekspress Grupp belongs to Hans H. Luik.

 

Estonian Furniture Maker Standard Wins Finnish Hotel Furnishing Tender

Aug 3 - The Estonian manufacturer of hotel and office furniture Standard has won a tender for furnishing 214 rooms of a new hotel in northern Finland, the Scandic Hotel Oulu.

For Standard the hotel which is to be completed by the end of the year represents the largest one-off export project. Last year the firm supplied furniture for 1,300 hotel rooms abroad.

Export accounted for 30 percent of Standard's sales of 180.7 million kroons (EUR 11.55 mln) in 2005. The firm ended the year with a profit of 10.5 million kroons.

Standard's principal markets beside the other Baltic countries and Scandinavia were Germany, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Based on Estonian capital, Standard is among the largest producers of office and hotel furniture in the Baltic states. The firm has a nationwide sales network and factory outlets in Tallinn and Riga, as well as distributors in Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, Norway, Germany and Russia.

 

Estonian Air's H1 Passenger Numbers Up 13 Pct on Year

Aug 4 - Estonia's national airline Estonian Air carried in the first half of this year 331,830 passengers, an increase of 13 percent against the same period last year.

The average load factor climbed by 2 percentage points to 59 percent, the company said.

"We have seen growth on almost every route and have been very successful with our Brussels, London and Scandinavian flights," Estonian Air Vice President Mart Relve said. "We have even managed to steal a bit of market

share from our competitors."

Estonian Air served 642,700 passengers on its flights last year, a year-on-year growth of 18 percent.

 

Cruise Ships Visiting Port of Tallinn Total 187

Aug 7 - A total of 187 traditional cruise ships have visited Tallinna Sadam (Port of Tallinn) this season and there should be 93 further calls during the rest of the remaining season.

In addition to the traditional cruise ships 10 cruise ships of the neighbouring countries of Finland and Sweden will also call at Tallinn.

Last year the port received 273 traditional cruise ships and 51 short cruise ships from Sweden and Finland.

Cruise ships should make nine calls at the Saaremaa Port this season.

For the next season cruise operators have so far booked 245 visits to Tallinn, to which 30-40 calls should be added according to Tallinna Sadam. The first bookings have already been made also for 2008.

The Port of Tallinn expects to receive a total of 304,000 cruise passengers this year, which will be the all-time best result. Last year the same figure was higher than 205,000.

This year there have been 196,359 traditional cruise passengers and 9,951 short cruise passengers so far, bringing the total number of cruise passengers to 206,310.

 

Saaremaa-Ventspils Route Has Record Number Of Passengers In July

Aug 7 - A record number of passengers travelled on the Saaremaa-Ventspils shipping route in July --in all 5,990 passengers and 1,350 vehicles were carried on the route in July.

The ferry Scania plying between the Estonian island of Saaremaa and Ventspils, Latvia, takes on up to 300 passengers and 60 cars. The ship covers the distance of 63 kilometers in approximately four hours.

 

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