Tallink Grupp's total passenger numbers fell by 61.8 percent on year in 2020, the company says, a development it called unsurprising given the pandemic. Cargo transport only fell a little over 5 percent, over the same period.
Tallink ferried 3,732,102 passengers on all its routes in 2020, compared with 9,763,210 in 2019.
Tallink CEO Paavo Nõgene said via a press release that: "These statistics will not be a surprise to anyone, as we have shared our updates and statistics throughout the year and have been completely open about the impact of the global pandemic on our business."
The company had done all it could to deal with the pandemic, he added. The group published its 2020 fourth quarter and December passenger and cargo figures, which give an overall picture of the effects of the ongoing pandemic.
Tallink CEO: Company has had to think on its feet through pandemic
Nõgene said that the company had done all it could to deal with the changes.
"Considering the periodic total lock-downs and travel restrictions which have been in place since March 2020, only slightly easing for two months last summer, the company has weathered this storm as well as possible. We have done everything in our power to think on our feet, react, change, innovate and prioritise everyone's safety at the same time to ensure we continue to sail in 2021 and beyond. We have also done everything in our power to preserve and protect the assets of our investors and shareholders to the maximum extent," Nõgene said.
While growth targets for passengers and cargo in 2020, which Nõgene called ambitious, were not met, the company achieved a far more important continuation of services in both areas, as restrictions continued to be imposed while infection rates mounted.
Passenger numbers decreased on all the company's routes, with several of the routes suspended for long periods during the year due to travel restrictions and states of emergency.
Cargo only saw small fall
The largest drop in passenger numbers occurred on the Latvia-Sweden route (82.5 percent fewer passengers in 2020 compared with 2019) and on the Estonia-Sweden routes (81.9 percent fewer passengers on year), where regular passenger traffic had been either completely or partly suspended since March 2020.
Passenger numbers on Finland-Sweden routes also decreased in 2020, by 66.1 percent, compared with 2019, and on the Estonia-Finland routes by 52.3 per cent on year.
Cargo transport only fell by 5.2 percent in 2020, to 359,811 units; while passenger transport between Estonia and Finland, for instance, came to a standstill during the peak of the initial spring coronavirus wave, cargo flows were kept active, to enable the transit of essential items, and the volume of cargo moving between Estonia and its northern neighbor rose by one percent on year.
Passenger vehicles down nearly 37 percent in 2020
The number of passenger vehicles transported in 2020 also fell, 36.7 percent overall and across all the group's routes, in 2020.
The largest drop was again evident on the fully- or partly-suspended Latvia-Sweden and Estonia-Sweden routes.
Paavo Nõgene also expressed thanks to customers for sticking with the company, which received a €100-million support package from state credit agency KredEx to help deal with the pandemic's effects – Tallink also operates hotels, which have been heavily hit by the crisis – and looked forward to continued custom next year.
Editor: Andrew Whyte