The Zagreb government stopped the investments of Jadrolinija’s new helm
The 35 million euro tender of the Croatian flag shipping company to purchase 4 ferries was put under scrutiny
According to the Il Piccolo, the Croatian government put under scrutiny the 35 million euro tender to order 4 ferries to renew the national company's fleet that had been drawn up by the company's top management at the end of 2017.
Last autumn, Jadrolinija's leader was appointed after the unexpected dismissal of its CEO Alan Klanac, who was forced to resign before the implementation of the investment plan he had been working on.
The new helm, including general manager David Sopta and its collaborators Ante Vranješ and Predrag Govorcin, had issued a call for tender, although they never replied to Ship2Shore's specific request to confirm its details.
However, the same Zagreb's government that had appointed the three Croatian managers ordered the Ministry of Sea, Transport and Infrastructures to scrutinize their plan issued in January 2018 to purchase 4 catamarans.
According to the Trieste newspaper, the minister and former mayor of Novi Vinodolski (Rijeka) Oleg Butković ordered to monitor the call for tender as he deemed the investment (35 million euro) to be excessive, demanding to review the economic conditions of the tender.
According to Croatian sources, one possibility could be another complete renewal of the company's top management. Sopta and his collaborators could be accused of not having acted in agreement with the company's monitoring committee – being still a state company, the latter is managed by Zagreb as regards budgetary control – and of having found discrepancies between the investment envisaged and the overall plan to renew Jadrolinija's fleet (currently consisting of 50 ferries and catamarans), developed by the Government, to purchase 26 units (of which 23 new) within 2027.
Sopta explained to the local press that the call for tender had to be issued because Jadrolinija needs to renovate and expand its hi-speed fleet with new catamarans soon, as the average age of its units is 27 years, therefore they are not competitive. In his defence, the top manager referred to the call for tenders on the Split – Korčula – Prigadizza route, that the state shipping company lost because it did not have a modern catamaran suitable for the connection.
The offers for the new catamarans to be ordered were many, the most attractive of which being that of the Dutch shipyard Damen.
As a matter of fact, last March Sopta and Govornic attended the Ferry Shipping Summit held in Amsterdam, where Damen Shipyard was one of the main sponsors, represented by its Chairman Kommer Damen. It is likely that the top managers of the two companies seized the opportunity provided by this international conference to discuss the details of their ongoing contracts.
Although Jadrolinija did not make any formal declaration about the terms of the tender yet, the new high-speed units should be able to transport 400 passengers each. The first unit could be delivered already next summer (Damen usually customizes its product for an essential part of the hull), and the second within 2018, at a unit price exceeding 9 million euro.
Therefore, 17 million euro would be left to purchase two second-hand catamarans, though some hold that this price is too high for second-hand units.
In fact, according to other sources, due to a significant spending review carried out in Croatia, the purchase of the two second-hand units will be the first one to be stopped as the monitoring committee was not pleased with the offers received.
According to the international press, Jadrolinija had took into consideration a project provided by the Polish shipyard Remontowa for a 120 meters long ro-pax with a capacity of 1,500 passengers and 200 cars to be used for the connection between the Hvar, Korcula, Vis and Lastovo islands for an investment amounting to 50-70 million euro, as well as a project for another 102 meters ferry built by Classis d.o.o., with a capacity of 900 passengers and 200 cars, which was definitely too expensive. The cost of this construction would amount to 25 million euro and the new vessel would replace the small Lastovo, with a capacity of only 500 passengers and 80 cars.
Established in Rijeka in 1957, Jadrolinjia currently transports some 11 million passengers per year, boasting 50 units and 1,700 employees.