Norway-based Havila Kystruten has achieved a significant milestone in its long-anticipated endeavor to launch a Norwegian Coastal Service. The company successfully navigated the challenges posed by sanctions imposed on its original lender, the Russian institution GTLK, resulting in the restoration of its fleet.
After a strenuous fifteen-month effort by Havila, the last two ships have finally arrived in Norway. The first of these two vessels, HAVILA POLARIS commenced operations on August 18th, and its sister ship is scheduled to begin service on August 23rd.
Bent Martini, the CEO of Havila, acknowledged the unwavering support of the Norwegian Ministry of Transport throughout the intricate process, highlighting their tolerance for the substantial delays that were encountered.
The company obtained court approval to reinstate the frozen accounts used to settle GTLK’s loans. Havila has also refinanced the vessels according to the court’s directive. The approximate value of each of the four ships ensnared in the sanctions stands at 150 million euros. Havila secured financing for its fleet by procuring 305 million euros from the investment firm HPS Investment Partners. Furthermore, Havila’s principal stakeholders raised an additional 65 million euros, supplementing the 20 million euro loan contributed by Havila itself.
The four vessels, known as “HAVILA CAPELLA,” “HAVILA CASTOR,” “HAVILA POLARIS,” and “HAVILA POLLUX,” are currently under contract with the Norwegian Government to provide a coastal service that extends from Bergen to Kirkenes. The coastal service contract has been divided between Havila and Hurtigruten to foster greater options and competition. The four ships will facilitate point-to-point transportation for both passengers and vehicles along the coastline while also offering 12-day round-trip cruise experiences.