Island ferry line reports record June for Hiiumaa connection

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Two of Estonia's ferries, the Piret and Tõll. Source: TS Laevad

Ferry line TS Laevad, which connects Estonia's larger islands to the mainland, has reported a year-on-year increase in passenger numbers of 14 percent, with the Hiiumaa route seeing a record result.

TS Laevad, a subsidiary of the part-state-owned, part-listed Port of Tallinn (Tallinna Sadam), carried 271,325 passengers in the month of June, a 14 percent rise on year.

June 2020 was, however, the first full month following the then-government's coronavirus emergency situation, which ran mid-March to mid-May and whose strictures included Saaremaa, Estonia's largest island, being closed to all but full-time island residents.

At the same time, the figures can be compared with the 20 percent fall on year TS Laevad experienced in January.

The company carried out 2,175 trips on its two routes to the two islands, which also carried 123,489 vehicles – a 12 percent rise on year.

The route between the port at Rohuküla, just outside Haapsalu, and Heltermaa, Hiiumaa's main port, saw particularly strong results, the company says.

TS Laevad CEO Indrek Randveer said: "In June, we achieved a record in terms of both passengers and vehicles on the Rohukula-Heltermaa route, serving 80,157 passengers and carrying 35,311 vehicles."

"Compared to June 2020, the number of both passengers and vehicles increased by 11 percent," he went on.

The figures for the Virtsu to Kuivastu route – the latter is on the island of Muhu, which is connected to Saaremaa via a causeway road – were also notable, Randveer said.

"On the Virtsu-Kuivastu route, we achieved a record result in terms of vehicles in June. In June, we carried 88,178 vehicles and served 191,168 passengers. The number of passengers on the route increased by 15 percent and the number of vehicles by 12 percent compared to June last year. The increase in passenger numbers in June was most likely due to the long Midsummer week, sunny weather and reduced coronavirus restrictions."

The company has also laid on more trips via its Regula ferry, at peak times, which, Ranveer said, has reduced line-waiting times at the ports, while this has been helped further by increased uptake of e-bookings.

TS Laevad claims a high customer satisfaction index, at 76 percent for June (up 6 percent on year), while virtually all of its ferries (99.4 percent) departed on time in June.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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