Finnish ferry operator Viking Line announced that its Viking XPRS will make its first voyage under the Estonian flag today.
Until now the ferry has been in the Swedish registry. The festive event will start in the A terminal at 1.30 pm today.
Viking Line has not said how big a cost-saving effect the move would bring, but a year ago when the company started to consider the flag-change, Mikael Backman, CEO of Viking Line, estimated that the company may save up to 40% in labour expenses by the flag-change.
This means that annual saving could amount to about EUR 1m. One reason that is forcing Viking Line to consider the flag-change is the difference of the average salary in Estonia and Finland.
Viking Line’s main competitor Tallink has an edge in the fierce fight over passengers in Tallinn-Helsinki route due to having lower labour costs although it is now in bitter dispute with the Estonian trade union of seamen that is demanding between 15 and 20% pay rise.