Smiltyne Ferry Terminal is the only Lithuanian company which has more than 50 years experience in the area of internal waters transport. The company, as military shipping detachment, which had to implement a strategic task – to ensure communication between the two shores across the Curonian Lagoon, to the Curonian Spit, which is included in to the UNESCO World Heritage List, was established on the 20th May, 1945. Soon after, in the place of the Old ferry terminal, a strong river transport company was established, the aim of which was much wider: to transport food stuff from Kaunas by barges, to float rafts over the river Nemunas to the wood processing enterprises on the embankments on the river Dane, and carry passengers by river transport. In winter time, part of the fleet used to remain in Kaunas, therefore Nemunas shipping was established namely in Kaunas, which construction of river ships, port and maintenance depot belonged to. In the course of time, the significance of river transport decreased, Nemunas shipping became in charge of all transport fleet, and the Old ferry terminal, returned to its initial and the main function – to ensure communication across the Curonian lagoon. At that time (in about 1960-1970) 4 river ferries were purchased. Industry was growing, tourism was rapidly developing. In Lithuania, especially in the Curonian Spit, new holiday centers began to appear, construction works were reinforced. It is natural that these processes increased the amount of transport, cargo and passengers to be carried. The work of the old terminal started to jam. For this reason, a New ferry terminal was opened in 1986 for carrying transport and cargo, with four new-type spacious ferries. In Independent Lithuania, Smiltyne ferry terminal, as a joint-stock company has been registered since 30th May, 1991. The present purpose of the company has remained the same – to guarantee communication between the two shores, however, the number of people using its service, and flows of transit transport have incredibly increased.
The ferry services are of vital importance for residents of the town of Neringa traveling to Klaipėda, as well as for Klaipėda residents traveling to Smiltynė either on business or for pleasure. However, the major flow is accounted for by holidaymakers who come not only from Lithuania, but also from other foreign countries to enjoy the tranquility rendered by the nature of the Curonian Spit. During the summer seasons, especially large flows of holidaymakers willing to see one of the most beautiful and unique European landscapes use ferry services.
JSC “Smiltynes perkela” pays great attention to the quality of customers’ service. At the moment, all company’s fleet is renewed. ferry masters and crew with high qualifications ensure safe and timely carriage of passengers and vehicles across the Curonian Lagoon. Declaring honesty, justice and respect for its passengers, associates and employees, the Company pursues in its activities as high and good results as possible by improving and increasing ferry services.
To make the company’s services more modern and convenient, the company’s infrastructure has been renewed and modernized. Surveillance camera system installation has been completed, ferries timetables have been adjusted for the summer and winter seasons, with a view to shorten the carrying time to the maximum, and provide the service efficiently and conveniently for the consumers.
Ferry „Žalgiris“ was successfully brought to Klaipeda port on 16th June, 2009.
Passenger ferry “Nida“ was introduced in the republic of Bulgaria, in Bourg shipyard in 2006. The ferry has four apparels, through which people are let in and out. This quickens communication with the Curonian Spit, besides, it is much faster and more economical. The ferry can operate even when stronger winds are blowing.
Passenger-cargo ferry “Baltija” was built in the republic of Bulgaria, in Bourg shipyard in 2005. The length of the ferry – 62m, width – 14m. With two 1300 horsepower engines and steering column, which rotates around its axis at the angle of 360°, the ferry is capable of reaching 20km/h speed, turn around in place and sail by side, it can also operate when the wind blows at 30m/s. The ferry “Baltija” is very economical not only for its efficiency, but also for the consumption of oils and fuel.
In 2004, a new ferry “Neringa” started to operate; it was built in the republic of Bulgaria, in Bourg shipyard.
Ferries currently in operation at the New Ferry Terminal:
1. “Baltija” – built in 2005 (it can carry up to 40 passenger cars, and the closed salon can accommodate 100 passengers).
2. “Neringa” – built in 2004 (it can carry up to 40 passenger cars, and the closed salon can accommodate 100 passengers).
3. “Žalgiris” – built in 2009 (it can carry up to 40 passenger cars, and the closed salon can accommodate 100 passengers).
Ferries currently in operation at the Old Ferry Terminal:
“Nida” – built in 2006 (it can carry 700 people).
“Kintai” – built in 1977 (it can carry 477 passengers (85 seats available)).
JSC “Smiltynės perkėla” received an international award of transportation area
On 9th October, 2008, JSC “Smiltynes perkela” received an international award of transportation are – New Millennium Prize. New Millennium Prize was given to the company for investments in new ferries, renovation of water transport park, and purposeful and successful business. This international prize was established with a view to stimulate companies, involved in the transportation of goods and passengers, by evaluating the quality of their services and input to international trade, which helps to integrate countries into the world economics.
“This honorable prize from the World Trade Leaders Club is the highest evaluation of your company’s activity”, - the secretary of the ministry of communication Arvydas Vaitkus greeted the company’s chief when he received an international award.
The World Trade Leaders Club, established in Madrid in 1950, unites all the world’s companies and organizations, which achieve exceptional results in trade, investments, and servicing areas. The Presidium of this organization elects and awards the best organizations every year.
According to the international Trade leaders’ club president Arsen Padro Rodriges, the receiving of such award entitles a company to become a full member of this club. The membership in this club provides the company with opportunity to make contacts with more than 7000 companies from 95 countries, which use the services of this club. Such award improves the company’s international image and enables the company to make contacts with representatives from many companies of the world, which participate in the event.
JSC “Smiltynes perkela” example of good practice
On 13th November, 2007 JSC “Smiltynes perkela” received the news from the European Agency of Safety and Health at Work that the company’s example of good practice “Integration of ergonomic teaching into risk management”, which participated in a competition of good practice works “Prevention of employees bones and muscles system injuries”, organized by the European Agency of Safety and Health at Work, was acknowledged as commendable and was nominated for a European competition.
The company’s practical experience in this nomination was introduced to Lithuanian companies in practical seminars in Druskininkai and Vilnius. More than 1000 representatives from national companies, institutions and organizations participated in the seminars. JSC “Smiltynes perkela” example of good practice “Integration of ergonomic teaching into risk management” was presented among other works, it was acknowledged at commendable level in Lithuania and was nominated to participate in a European competition, the final of which took place on 26th February, 2008 in Bilbao (Spain). JSC “Smiltynes perkela” representatives participated in the winners’ award ceremony in Bilbao.
The major aim of the European Agency of Safety and Health at Work competitions is to make European work places safer, healthier and more efficient. This is made by accumulating knowledge and information, which is shared with everyone, thus stimulating the culture of risk prevention. In one of such campaigns, called “Let’s reduce workload”, under the subject “Prevention of employees’ bones and muscles system injuries”, JSC “Smiltynes perkela” example of good practice was acknowledged as nominee. This European campaign seeks to stimulate management methods of injuries of bone-muscular system (BMS), the aim of which is to prevent BMS injuries and to maintain, rehabilitate and return to work employees, who already have BMS injuries. Participation in the campaign “Let’s reduce workload” is a great opportunity to reduce the number of BMS injuries at work and to make work places in Europe safer and healthier.