Listed Estonian shipper Tallink Grupp carried a record 9,763,210 passengers on all of its vessels and routes combined in 2019, up 0.1 percent on year from 9,756,611 in 2018.
The biggest increase in the number of passengers was on Tallink's Finland-Sweden routes, where the company transported 1.7 percent more passengers in 2019 than in 2018. In total, the company transported 2,894,494 passengers on its Finland-Sweden routes in 2019, up from 2,845,616 in 2018, Tallink said in a press release on Friday.
Passenger numbers also increased on the company's Estonia-Finland and Latvia-Sweden routes. Tallink transported 5,115,602 passengers on is Estonia-Finland routes, up 0.7 percent on year from 5,079,861 in 2018. It transported 799,961 passengers on its Latvia-Sweden route, up 0.5 percent on year from 796,041 in 2018. The number of passengers only declined on year on its Estonia-Sweden routes, where the company transported 953,153 passengers last year, down 7.9 percent from 1,035,093 in 2018.
The number of passenger vehicles transported by Tallink in 2019 increased on its Finland-Sweden routes, but decreased on year on all other routes. In all, Tallink Grupp transported 1,110,314 passenger vehicles last year, 1.3 percent less on year than the 1,124,693 transported in 2018. The number of cargo units transported by the company fell 1.4 percent on year from 384,958 units in 2018 to 379,634 units last year. The number of cargo units transported increased on its Finland-Sweden routes and Latvia-Sweden route and decreased on all other routes.
"Considering the fact that our operations were affected by the planned dockings of several of our vessels in the first quarter of 2019, that economic tensions both in our home markets as well as globally increased in 2019 and that competition on our routes increased, it is extremely positive that we have still managed to achieve growth in our passenger numbers in 2019," Tallink Grupp CEO Paavo Nõgene said regarding the company's results. "These record numbers are largely a result of a strong high season, during which we carried record numbers of over 1 million passengers in one month during a number of consecutive months."
According to the CEO, the shipper's fourth quarter results were also impacted by the general postal strike in Finland in November and early December, which meant that its Christmas offers didn't reach many of the company's Club One customers in time.
"We can see a decline in the usual pre-Christmas traveling among our Finnish loyalty program members," he noted. "It is thus all the more positive that, despite this hindrance, passenger and passenger vehicle numbers for the fourth quarter are still higher than those of the fourth quarter in 2018."
Changes, improvements in 2020
The decline in passenger vehicles and cargo units are topics that are being very seriously addressed, Nõgene said.
"In the competitive environment, which tightened significantly in 2019, we must take action in the area of cargo transport in 2020 and adjust our operations according to the changed environment to ensure we turn the declining trend around into a positive one again," he explained, noting that the company is already working on this issue.
According to the CEO, 2020 promises to be a busy and exciting year.
"In the area of our core business, we are about to begin construction of our new LNG vessel MyStar at Rauma Shipyard in Finland, and in the area of our shore trade, we are set to expand rapidly in the Baltics with the Burger King franchise we acquired last year," Nõgene highlighted.
Editor: Aili Vahtla