(NRK Troms & Finnmark via BarentsObserver, 4 September 2008) -- The Norwegian Coastal Steamer, Hurtigruten, is in serious financial trouble. If the situation is not solved it could lead to bankruptcy of the famous tourist attraction. The end of Hurtigruten would be catastrophe for the tourist industry in northern Norway. The management of Hurtigruten ASA is today meets with the Norwegian Minister of Transport and Communications, Liv Signe Navarsete in Bergen. Several Norwegian politicians now call on the Government to take actions to resolve Hurtigruten's critical situation. Hurtigruten has 1800 employees which operate the 11 vessels sailing daily between Bergen and Kirkenes on the Norwegian coast. Many local businesses in the respective ports are dependent on the income from passengers going on and off the Hurtigruten. From before, the Government is annually granting Hurtigruten 31 million EUR in support of the company's sailing from Bergen to Kirkenes with stops in 34 ports. Hurtigruten had a turnover of 480 million EUR in 2007, but the annual account showed a deficit of 28 million EUR. So far this year, the company has had a deficit of 24 million EUR only in the first six months. At the same time last year, the deficit was "only" 4 million EUR. The financial problems are mainly due to large investments in new ships over the last ten years. During the summer season Hurtigruten runs well with many passengers, but with too few passengers in the winter season the income is not good enough to cover all costs. Hurtigruten has advertised three of their ships for sale and will dock one of their ships in the coming winter season to save money.
Posted 6 September 2008; 12:59:43 AM. Permalink