Estonian shipping line Tallink Grupp reported a 2.3 percent rise on passenger numbers on year to September.
September this year saw 401,520 passengers use Tallink ferries, compared with 392,491 in September 2022.
Commenting on the results published to the Tallinn stock exchange today, Tuesday, Tallink Grupp CEO Paavo Nõgene said: "I am pleased that the passenger statistics continue to show post-crisis stabilizing, despite the continuing economic challenges and price hikes, with comparable routes and vessels showing year-on-year improvements.
"This summer has seen even more of our good home market customers return to our ships, but what we have also seen is the gradual return and increase in the number of Asian passengers. The number of passengers from Asia has almost doubled in the third quarter of this year, compared with last year, with travelers from South Korea, India, China, Japan and Taiwan topping the Asian passenger charts between July and September," Nõgene went on, via a company press release.
However, with cargo the situation was not so rosy.
"The general economic situation in our home markets is fragile, which is mostly evident in our cargo unit figures, but also has a wider impact on consumer behavior. We are flexible in our operations and decisions and are ready to take action if and where needed," Nõgene said.
The number of cargo units carried by Tallink vessels in the month of September fell by 24.4 percent to 25,823 units, compared with September 2022, when the figure was 34,169 units.
The number of passenger vehicles remained largely unchanged on year to September at 6,602 passenger vehicles (compared with 61,603 in September 2022).
Passenger numbers were also down in the third quarter of 2023 (Q3 2023), compared with the same period last year.
Tallink says it transported a total 1,775,821 passengers in Q3 2023, a 6.2 percent fall on Q3 2022's figure (1,893,603 passengers).
The number of transported cargo units fell on year to Q3 2023 by 26.1 percent to 75,701 units (compared with 102,399 units in Q3 2022).
The number of passenger vehicles also fell over this time-frame – by 1.5 percent, from 277,747 vehicles in Q3 2022, to 273, 514 vehicles in Q3 2023.
Tallink operated two fewer vessels on its routes in Q3 2023, than it had done in Q2 2022 – the Silja Europa and the Galaxy I were chartered out.
Nõgene listed a rapid rise in marine fuel prices in September which will have to be passed on to customers as a fuel surcharge as among the immediate challenges facing the company, adding that efforts would be made to keep this and other inflationary pressures to a minimum.
Editor: Andrew Whyte