Swedish ferry company Stena Line has today confirmed that it’s Oslo – Frederikshavn route has closed permanently. The announcement comes following the suspension of the service since March 14 due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus crisis. Earlier in the week Stena Line also announced 950 planned redundancies in Sweden, in both both onboard and ashore roles. This was also as a result of the anticipated impact of COVID-19 on the business.
The Oslo route, which has operated for over 40 years, is highly dependent on summer passenger trade. It is understood that the route has struggled for profitability in recent years. Stena Line has blamed the restrictions on travel imposed by governments for the closure. It has anticipated the route would miss the entire peak season this year. The decision means Stena Line will also close its office in Oslo which will affect 30 shore-based employees.
In a statement, Niclas Mårtensson, CEO Stena Line said:
”This is a tough decision to make, but we are experiencing tough times in general as a company. The Oslo-Frederikshavn route is totally dependent on its passenger service and summer peak season. We estimate that we due to the Coronavirus won´t have a peak season this year and we simply can´t afford to wait and hope until next year”
STENA SAGA was the sole vessel which sailed on the route. She is currently laid up at Stena’s home port of Gothenburg having been moved there once her route was suspended. The company have not yet commented on the future of STENA SAGA, which herself is almost 40 years old. At the time of her introduction as SILVIA REGINA in 1981 she was one of the largest ferrIes in the world. The ship first joined Stena Line in 1991 and has previously sailed between Harwich and Hoek van Holland as STENA BRITTANICA.