Norway’s venerable coastal voyage line Hurtigruten, now mostly a cruiseline, was sailing full steam ahead until the Corona virus crisis forced most of its vessels into lay-up and cut off revenue. Now it doesn’t qualify for the emergency aid offered by the government, because its credit rating has been severely downgraded.
“It’s a paradox that we, who were operating incredibly well at the beginning of the year, now aren’t worthy enough to receive help,” Hurtigruten’s chief executive Daniel Skjeldam told newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN). He claims the aid packages were set up precisely “to help companies like ours with liquidity through the crisis.”
Instead the state fund handling the money is applying rules that exclude companies with low credit ratings. Those rules need to be overlooked in this case, and quickly, Skjeldam says, since it won’t be long before he’ll need to terminate workers and put the vessels into “cold storage.”
“We don’t have time to wait (for relief, or new interpretation of the rules),” he told DN. He claims the shipping line needs help every bit as much as airlines do, in order to survive.