Stunned shipyard director regarding new million-dollar funding for Søby Port: 'They're just getting the money handed to them"

A new injection of funds from the state to Søby Port, benefiting the port's shipyard, faces harsh criticism from competitor Assens Shipyard

A substantial new sum of money is on its way to Søby Port on Ærø.

This is a reality after Transport Minister Thomas Danielsen received backing on April 24th to earmark an additional 30 million DKK for the expansion of the port on Ærø, on top of the 75 million DKK allocated by the Danish Parliament to the project back in 2018.

The support was praised by several Members of Parliament, including Erling Bonnesen (V) and Mai Mercado (K), who highlighted the importance of the shipyard for job creation, related industries, and the local economy on Ærø.

However, amidst the enthusiasm, the owner of Assens Shipyard, Erling Pedersen, voiced strong criticism in Fyens Stiftstidende today, pointing out that once again, funds are being allocated to the Ærø port, which will greatly benefit his competitor, Søby Shipyard.

He deems the support "completely unacceptable" and "as distortionary of competition as it can possibly be," fearing the consequences for shipyards that must secure their future without state support.

Assens Port has prepared for the future out of its own pocket and requires a new quay expansion, which would need to be financed with borrowed funds - unlike Søby Port and Shipyard, "which just get the money handed to them because of their good political connections," as Erling Pedersen puts it.

Public support for Søby Port benefiting the port's shipyard, and criticism of the support, is not new.

In 2018, the Danish Parliament allocated 75 million DKK to future-proof Søby Port, which also received 44 million DKK from Ærø Municipality.

At that time, the support from the Danish Parliament faced harsh criticism from Assens Shipyard and Fayard.

Competitors emphasized that the inequality between shipyards in ports developed with state aid and those that are not distorts the pricing of shipyards and their ability to compete on equal terms.

The future-proofing of Søby Port on Ærø

  • The expansion of Søby Port on Ærø has been in progress for 10 years.

  • The development project has received public funding on multiple occasions from the Danish Parliament and Ærø Municipality.
  • In 2018, the Danish Parliament allocated DKK 75 million to the development project.
  • Ærø Municipality has supported the port expansion with DKK 44 million.
  • Following a failed EU tender due to cost increases, the Danish Parliament allocated an additional DKK 30 million in April 2024 to ensure the expansion of Søby Harbor.

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