Recovery from the Covid pandemic and its accompanying travel restrictions is still some way off for the shipping sector, according to Tallink Group's fourth quarter 2021 (Q4 2021) report, issued Tuesday. Passenger numbers fell almost 21 percent on year to 2021, the company reported.
Tallink did however see a rise in cargo volumes over the same period, while taking just the second half of 2020 and 2021, passenger numbers also rose as routes were reopened.
The Covid pandemic arrived towards the end of Q1 2020.
Through 2021, Tallink Group transported a total of 2 961 975 passengers on all routes, compared with 3,732,102 in 2020, a fall of 20.6 percent, the company announced Tuesday.
Tallink Group CEO Paavo Nõgene said: "2021 did not bring with it the much hoped for and anticipated end to the pandemic and proper recovery yet, which meant much of the year was once again spent thinking outside the box, inventing ways of keeping people and goods moving throughout the many last minute and extensive travel restrictions."
"Although the traveler numbers yet again lower than we would have liked them to be in 2021, we are pleased that the second half of the year already saw a near 21-percent increase in passenger numbers compared to the second half of 2020, and we were able to re-open some of our popular routes half way through 2021, which had remained suspended since the start of the pandemic," Nõgene continued, according to a company press release.
"Re-opening the routes has given so many people more opportunities again to visit family, loved ones and friends, which is more important than ever during this long period of isolation and seclusion. We hope that once we get past the ongoing Omicron wave and the low winter season, we will soon reach a phase in the fight against the virus, which signals that we are nearing the end of our fight and our ultimate defeat of Covid, when we can start to rebuild our lives, businesses, societies," he added.
Passenger vehicles volume fell to 602 033 on all routes in 2021, compared with 702,702 in 2020.
Cargo unit volume during the year rose to a total of 369 170 units (compared with 359 811 units in 2020), with growth in the Estonia-Finland and Estonia-Sweden routes, and a slight fall on the Finland-Sweden routes, compared with 2020, according to the company's Q4 2021 results published Tuesday.
Tallink has been providing Covid testing and also vaccinations on board its vessels and in conjunction with new partners, Nõgene added.
Editor: Andrew Whyte