March 16, 2020 / 1:27 PM / 21 days ago

UPDATE 1-Nordic ferry firms cut jobs, routes due coronavirus

* Stena Line to cut 950 jobs in Sweden

* Tallink to halt routes to Stockholm, starts talks with staff

* Tallink cuts traffic on Helsinki-Tallinn route (Adds Tallink)

OSLO/TALLINN, March 16 (Reuters) - Nordic ferry companies Stena Line and Tallink said on Monday they would cut jobs and routes as a result of the coronavirus outbreak and the travel restrictions imposed by several countries.

Ferry company Stena Line said it will cut 950 jobs in Sweden as it was experiencing a “drastic decline” in travel bookings, with the worst effect experienced in Scandinavia. “At present, it is estimated that passenger operations will not recover before the peak season in summer,” the company said in a statement.

Estonia’s Tallink said it decided to temporarily suspend operations of the Tallinn-Stockholm, Riga-Stockholm and cut back on Tallinn-Helsinki routes until further notice.

“Due to lower demand and changes in the schedules, the number of transported passengers, cargo units and passenger cars will be negatively affected over the coming months,” it said.

Tallink said it would reduce significantly all operational expenses to ensure sustainable operations after the virus situation has passed, and it has started talks with labour unions, without identifying the need for job cuts.

Shares in Tallink were down 15.5% at their lowest level since January 2015. (Reporting by Gwladys Fouche in Oslo and Tarmo Virki in Tallinn; Editing by Alex Richardson)

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