The Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA), which manages infrastructures and research projects in the European Union, has visited the investments the entity has co-financed in Finnlines vessels and in the Ports of Bilbao and Antwerp as part of the project for “Biscay Line – Multiple port Finland – Estonia – Belgium – Spain long distance MoS, relevant to many core network corridors”, 2014 call.
The end-of-project meeting, held in Bilbao, was to certify all the investments that have been carried out, but it especially supposes one more example of EU support for the Bilbao-Antwerp service represented by Consignaciones Toro y Betolaza, and which through this project gains in efficiency, quality, security and safety. The total investment amounts to 15,105,722 euros, with maximum European financing of 30%.
What stands out in the project is the adaptation of Finnlines vessels to the new emission regulation in the Sulphur Emission Control Areas (SECAs). This has meant that scrubbers – very similar to catalytic convertors in cars, and which greatly reduce sulphur oxides – have been installed in their vessels.
The Port Authority of Bilbao, on the other hand, has increased the capacity of one RoRo ramp to improve heavy cargo operations, and thus improve the service offered by Finnlines. In specific terms, the width of RoRo ramp Nº 5 bridge has been
increased to 10 metres, and its load capacity increased up to 250 tonnes.
Likewise, and also in the Port of Bilbao, Consignaciones Toro y Betolaza have improved their equipment for this line with the incorporation of twelve trailers and a mobile portable crane.
The Port of Antwerp has also carried out improvements at the berth for this service, specifically at the Antwerp Euro Terminal NV (AET). ICT processes have been improved (new gate access identification, Wifi,) thus simplifying administrative processes.
Finnlines has weekly sailings from Bilbao to Zeebrugge, Antwerp, Paldiski, Saint Petersburg and Helsinki. The service is operated with Con-Ro vessels which are equipped for all classes of cargo and with the capacity for heavy lift and over-dimensional loads.