Forum Virium and Callboats have been bringing an on-demand electric water transport service to Helsinki. We asked Managing Director Peter Ostberg from Mente Marine Oy what the cooperation has been like and how it has benefitted the company.
Could you describe your service?
We provide passenger boats from which customers can order rides via a mobile app as an on-demand service. The boats are electrically powered and thus emission-free.
What kind of cooperation have you engaged in with Forum Virium Helsinki?
Our cooperation began in the summer of 2020 in the Mobility Launchpad project. The project held a competition in which our six-seat electric boat transported a total of 7,000 passengers between Vartiosaari and Laajasalo. It was the first time that an electrically powered connection boat was providing water transport in Helsinki.
The trial was continued the following summer with a larger 12-seat CAT 10 boat, the route of which went from the Merisatama area piers to the islands of Harakka, Uunisaari, Sirpalesaari and Liuskasaari. Customers could order rides within this multi pick area between the piers of their choosing.
“Our cooperation with Forum Virium has benefitted us in ways that can be seen to this day. The references we have received from the trials have been an advantage for us at the international level.”Peter Ostberg, Callboats
How has the cooperation gone and what kind of benefits has it provided?
We have benefitted greatly from the trials, and the effects can be seen in our business operations to this day. The trials provided us with references that have been an advantage for us at the international level as well. We are now planning to expand our operations to two other European countries.
Forum Virium helped us launch the trials and coordinated them in a network that included the City of Helsinki and several other partners. The trials provided Callboats with plenty of media publicity.
We also learned new things about our equipment. For example, we realised in the first trial that our boat model was too small, so we developed a larger boat, which we then tried the next summer in the Merisatama area.
How are you doing now, and what are your future plans?
We are keeping the pedal to the metal. Last summer, we transported passengers between Kompassitori and Uunisaari as a normal commercial operation. We introduced another 12-seat boat, and our plan is to bring in an even larger boat, a 30-seater. We are in the process of developing an autonomously operating boat. Naturally, the expansion of our operations also means that we need more workforce. In other words, we will hire more employees.
Read more: callboats.com
Article photo of the Merisatama trial in summer 2021 taken by Vesa Laitinen.