After a long economically weak period, we have now been enjoying an economic boom already for a while. Whatever the phase of the business cycle, however, it is important for us to continuously serve our customers as well as possible, in the spirit of fair trade and mutual commitment. We very much appreciate the same type of attitude from our customers. As a small, but versatile and committed company, we want to make sure our partners and customers get first class service at a cost level they are used to. Being a family-owned business, we don’t need to go for a big profit or fast bucks. Still, it is important to maintain profitability at a level that allows the development of our functions. Well thought, sustainable investments are also of customers’ interest. We want to dissociate ourselves from greenwash, where making profit runs over putting good ideas into practice.
We have remarkably increased the use of bio oil in our ships this year. The low price of fossil fuels during the first year the EcoCoasters were sailing, did not support our aim to increase the use of bio oil. After the oil price has risen from the rock bottom, it’s been also economically smart to use our own fuel, and so have we done, in larger quantities than before. Even though family-owning brings freedom and flexibility to the business, business facts apply also to environmentally oriented companies; sooner or later the business needs to run in a cost-effective way. Our companies of bio and circular economy in Uusikaupunki, a bio gas plant, a dry-land fish farm and a bio oil plant, have so far not been economically profitable companies, but now the units are operating steadily, and we are getting closer to a break even point. These companies were separated from the shipping companies last year, and as their own group of companies they no longer have an impact on the profit of the shipping companies, but still strongly support the environmental values of our activities.
VG EcoFuel Ltd, one of our companies in Uusikaupunki, takes care of collecting used cooking oils from restaurants, grocery stores and wholesale businesses, and further processes them at the bio oil plant. Every time the EcoCoasters come to a South Western harbour in Finland, they fill up with our Marine EcoFuel. We have new, young personnel in the oil business, and we are getting more collection points for raw material. Our collaboration with Hesburger is a perfect example of responsible circular economy and transparent business. Hesburger recently published videos of their way of doing responsible business, and we are part of that by processing their used cooking oils to fuel for our ships. It’s about solving a waste problem and substituting fossil fuels at the same time.
Our investment in bio oil production is a good example of the right kind of path in moving into more sustainable business. Currently waste-based bio oil is the most environmentally and ethically sustainable alternative for marine fuel. The life-cycle emissions of our bio fuel are even 97 % smaller than those of fossil fuels. Therefore, I can with a clean conscience claim, that Meriaura’s EcoCoasters are the most environmentally friendly ships on the Baltic Sea!
Chairman of the Board
P.S. As you may have noticed, our website has a brand-new look. As a novelty you can find this blog on the website. We write about current topics related to seafaring and take turns within the company in writing. The blog will be both in Finnish and in English!