Ferry company Tallink Grupp posted a 170 percent increase in passenger numbers in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021 due to rising interest in travel and relaxed coronavirus restrictions.
Between January and March 2022, the company carried 720,261 passengers which is a 169.5 percent rise on 2021 when 267,224 people took a trip on the firm's ferries.
The number of transported vehicles rose by 85.2 percent from 75,815 to 140,380. Transport Cargo totaled 101,938 units, rising 19.7 percent.
Looking at the figures for March in isolation, passenger numbers skyrocketed by 321.5 percent from 71,979 to 303,360. The number of vehicles transported rose by 175.2 percent and cargo units by 20 percent.
Commenting on the statistics, Tallink Grupp's CEO Paavo Nõgene said the company was pleased with the results but they needed to be seen in context. One element is a reduction in travel restrictions from Estonia and Finland imposed to limit the spread of coronavirus.
"We are pleased to see traveller interest bouncing back immediately as a result of restrictions being lifted," he said.
"For the first time in quite some time, the COVID challenges we have faced seem to be subsiding somewhat and, if we didn't have the new challenges presented by the changing geopolitical landscape as a result of the war in Ukraine right now, we would be looking towards the next quarters of this year with greater expectations and higher hopes than we are today."
Nõgene said the war in Ukraine is also having an impact on the future.
"As it stands, we remain cautious in these uncertain times, spreading risks where possible with careful and forward-looking decisions, and only taking steps that make sense from a longer-term sustainability point of view," he said.
The company said in a statement it also played its part in helping Ukrainian refugees fleeing the war. More than 6,200 displaced people used its vessels and 68 units of humanitarian cargo. The company did not charge fees for these services. Many refugees have transitted from Estonia to Finland.
Editor: Helen Wright