Irish Continental Group (ICG) : trading statement 11 May 2023

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Financial information for the first four months of 2023

  • Consolidated Group revenue +1.4% / €163.4 million
  • Ferries Division +8.7% / €106.9 million (2022: €98.3 million)
  • Container and Terminal Division -2.9% / €69.6 million (2022: €71.7 million)

Recent Developments

  • On 5 May 2023, the Group took delivery of OSCAR WILDE (ex Tallink STAR) from Tallink Grupp. Long-term bareboat charter 20 months, charter option 2 + 2 years, purchase option.

Winston Framework

ICG expects 2023 will see a continuation of the trend of freight customers returning to the landbridge and we are hopeful that the Windsor Framework will remove the distortion from the non-implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

ICG welcomes recent calls for the establishment of Green Lanes on ferry routes between the UK and the Republic of Ireland, for traffic destined for Northern Ireland. ICG believes that the arrangements proposed for Northern Ireland – Great Britain trade can be equally applied to allow trade to route via the Republic of Ireland. If a trader can be trusted to enter Northern Ireland and not enter the Republic of Ireland, then it would appear logical that the trader can be equally trusted to enter via the Republic of Ireland and go directly to Northern Ireland. This would allow Northern Ireland goods to travel via the shortest, most efficient, and environmentally friendly route. ICG has written to both the Irish Government and the European Union to urge them to consider the introduction of this proposal.

May 2023

DFDS April volumes: passenger growth continues, slowdown in freight

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DFDS Q1 2023: ahead of expectations

  • Revenue up 9% to DKK 6.3bn driven by the continued recovery in passenger numbers and spending, price increases for freight services to cover rising energy and other costs, and a positive impact from acquisitions.
  • EBITDA up 23% to DKK 1.0bn.
  • EBITDA for the freight ferry activities increased 4% to DKK 717m.
  • EBITDA for the Logistics Division increased 38% to DKK 299m.
  • EBITDA for passenger activities across the route network increased DKK 100m to DKK 9m which was on level with Q1 2019, the latest pre-Covid-19 year.
  • Freight volumes between the UK and Continent/Scandinavia declined in Q1, especially on the English Channel, while domestic transport volumes, also in the UK, were more robust. The war in Ukraine lowered freight volumes in the Baltic region compared to 2022.
  • For the last twelve months (LTM) 2023-22, EBITDA increased 4% to DKK 5,160m.
  • The outlook for EBITDA of DKK 4.5-5.0bn is unchanged. Revenue is overall still expected to remain at the same level as 2022. The investment outlook of around DKK 1.6bn is also unchanged, excluding acquisitions.

Read the Q1 2023 interim report here

DFDS April volumes: passenger growth continues, slowdown in freight

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Ferry – freight:

  • Total volumes in April 2023 were 18.7% below 2022.
  • Volumes were 7.7% below 2022 adjusted for Channel that is impacted by a general market decrease and overcapacity.
  • North Sea volumes were below last year due to lower volumes between mainly the Netherlands and the UK following a continued drop in Continental vegetable and fruit export to the UK.
  • Mediterranean volumes were just below last year adjusted for route changes due to congestion in the port of Mersin following the earthquake in February 2023 and some slowdown in activity ahead of the upcoming election.
  • Channel volumes were significantly below last year due to a continued market decrease, suspension of sailings by P&O Ferries throughout April 2022, and a negative impact from the entry of a third ferry operator, Irish Ferries.
  • Baltic Sea volumes remained negatively impacted by the war in Ukraine.
  • For the last twelve months 2023-22, the total transported freight lane metres decreased 8.0% to 40.1m from 43.6m in 2022-21. The decrease was 3.5% adjusted for Channel.

Ferry – passenger:

  • The number of passengers continued to recover and increased 22.3% to 406k equal to 84% of volumes in April 2019, the latest comparable month pre-Covid-19.
  • The number of cars equalled 79% of volumes in 2019.
  • For the last twelve months 2023-22, the total number of passengers was 4.2m compared to 1.4m in 2022-21 and 5.1m in 2019.

Stena Line orders two NewMax hybrid roro vessels for the Irish Sea

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  • Stena RoRo ordered 2 hybrid propulsion vessels designed to run on methanol, and future proofed for both battery propulsion and shore power.
  • Stena Line Belfast-Heysham route
  • Launch on the Irish Sea in 2025
  • Length 147m/2,800 lane metres, which is an 80% increase on current ship capacities.
  • Actual ship 1: STENA HIBERNIA 142m/1,710 lane metres,
  • Actual ship 2: STENA SCOTIA 142m/1,692 lane metres
  • The unique tidal systems prevailing in Heysham can be challenging. Each vessel will be fitted with a bespoke marine technology configuration making it more resilient to the prevailing weather conditions. Three bow thrusters.
  • Shipyard Jinling Weihai, China
  • Design: NAOS
  • Competition on Belfast-Heysham: Seatruck Ferries (CLdN Group)

Greencarrier and Wallenius launch the new company Lakeway Link

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  • Greencarrier and Wallenius announced Lakeway Link, a new company aimed at reducing heavy traffic by offering extended waterway transport.
  • Lakeway Link will serve the Polish cities of Gdynia and Gdansk to and from Södertälje and Västerås via Lake Mälaren, Sweden.
  • Lakeway Link will be operated with a new type of “Mälarmax” vessel that will make it possible to connect the Baltic Sea with the shallow Lake Mälaren.
  • RoRo and High and Heavy.
  • Regular service will be opened with fixed departures twice a week from Sweden and Poland, starting at the end of the year.
  • Lake Mälaren is the third-largest lake in Sweden, located near Stockholm. It is connected to the Baltic Sea by a series of channels and waterways, making it an important water route for shipping and transportation.
  • The safety and accessibility of the waterways through the Södertälje canal and Mälaren are being improved. The Södertälje canal is being widened and dredged, the lock is being rebuilt and extended. The fairways in Mälaren are being dredged too. [Swedish Maritime Administration, about the project, in Swedish]


Fredrik Hermansson, CEO of Greencarrier Liner Agency Sweden (left) and

Göran Söderdahl, Global Senior Commercial Manager at Wallenius Marine (right)

Tender launched to build a new ferry terminal in Cagliari

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  • The port authority of Cagliari in Sardinia has launched a tender for the construction of a new ro-ro and ferry terminal.
  • The new terminal will be built on the west bank of Porto Canale and will include a new port infrastructure worth 298 million euros.
  • The project will cover 43 hectares of yards and provide over 2,500 parking spaces for semi-trailers.
  • A passenger terminal of approximately 3,000 square meters will also be constructed.
  • The tender price for the project is set at EUR 345 million, and the construction is expected to take five years.
  • Bids for the project must be submitted by June 19th, 2023.
  • The selection process will prioritize the most economically advantageous bid, with special bonuses for reducing construction time.

HSC GOLDEN PRINCESS arrived in Greece

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On May 10, 2023, Golden Star Ferries’ new acquisition HSC GOLDEN PRINCESS (ex GOTLANDIA II) arrived in Piraeus. The ship was purchased on April 24th.

She will undergo a small-scale refit and probably enter service in the summer season of 2024. She was built in Italy in 2006.

Her carrying capacity is for 900 passengers and 160 cars.

Photo: Petros Psarras

MANXMAN joined the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company fleet

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MANXMAN has officially joined the Isle of Man Steam Packet on 11th May, 2023.

Lars Ugland, Chairman of the Board, signed the official documentation to complete the transfer of ownership on behalf of the Company. Mr HR Kim, President and CEO of Hyundai Mipo Dockyard signed on behalf of the builders.

The vessel is now in the charge of Captain Andy Atkinson and Chief Engineer Dean Ellis, for final preparations for departure on Saturday 13th May

Manxman will be docking on the South Coast of England at the end of the delivery voyage in order for some final fixtures and fittings to be added, with expected arrival in the Isle of Man towards the end of June.

ALFRED chartered as CalMac relief vessel for 9 months

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  • Following successful completion of berthing trials, ALFRED will commence service on Friday 12 May, Caledonian MacBrayne announced.
  • Berthing trials have shown that the ports suitable for ALFRED are Lochmaddy, Ullapool, Port Askaig, Brodick, Ardrossan (Irish berth only), Troon and Campbeltown.
  • Unfortunately, due to a technical issue with the vessel’s starboard thruster, she is currently unable to be deployed to Port Askaig. Pentland Ferries continue to work on mitigations to resolve this.
  • As Arran should have a two-vessel service on its main route at this time, ALFRED will initially be deployed between Ardrossan and Brodick.