Brittany Ferries: long routes have surged forwards but Channel is a concern

By | 2022 Newsletter week 44 | No Comments

Brittany Ferries has published figures outlining passenger and freight performance for its financial year (November to October).

FREIGHT

Freight struggled to recover 2019 levels: -27% on UK-France routes, and -22% on UK-Spain. Brexit border controls have played a role in this trend.

Freight France-Ireland and Ireland-Spain are welcome exceptions to the downward trend.

Brexit opportunities: new services have been launched connecting France directly with Ireland, exploiting what operators call The Brexit by-pass. Volumes have risen more than six-fold to 9,587 units.

Ireland-Spain has also posted positive results. Freight volumes rose 172% to 13,644 units, with an accelerating trend towards unaccompanied or driverless loads. These now comprise 45% of the total carried.

PASSENGER

Volumes on Channel routes are a concern. The post-Brexit imposition of passports for French passengers visiting the UK has dramatically hit this side of the BF business. “What is needed now is a concerted push from tourist bodies in France and the UK to boost tourism volumes,” says CEO Christophe Mathieu.

Long routes have seen a significant increase in passenger numbers.
This has helped Brittany Ferries record a positive financial performance for the year.

“While our long routes have surged forwards, the Channel is a real concern for Brittany Ferries and our partners,” said Brittany Ferries CEO Christophe Mathieu.

Brittany Ferries says it is optimistic for the year ahead. Forward reservations are positive, and there are no barriers to passengers crossing borders, as there were in France at the beginning of 2022.

Fleet renewal continues apace

  • Launched in March 2022, Salamanca is the first of four Brittany Ferries vessels to be powered by LNG as part of investment in fleet renewal. She will operate throughout the winter and into next summer on the Cherbourg and Bilbao to Rosslare routes. The aim is to grow by 50,000 the number of holiday makers sailing between Ireland and Spain.
  • A second LNG-powered vessel called SANTOÑA will join the fleet in March next year. She too will be based in Portsmouth.
  • SANTOÑA will be followed by two LNG-electric hybrid vessels in 2024/2025, replacing two of the longest serving ships in the fleet BRETAGNE (1989) and NORMANDIE (1992). The hybrids will call Portsmouth home, and will serve St Malo in Brittany and Caen in Normandie.

Fuel cost and government actions: Color Line removes two ships

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Color Line has decided to end the operation of ropax COLOR VIKING on the Sandefjord-Strømstad route and roro COLOR CARRIER on the Oslo-Kiel route.

Strong price growth has led to a significant increase in the costs of fuel, shore power and commodity costs, while at the same time important framework conditions have been weakened. This particularly applies to the subsidy scheme for Norwegian seafarers, and in the proposal for the national budget for 2023, a further weakening of the scheme is proposed. In addition, the government proposes to further reduce the scope of the tax-free scheme, this time by halving the tax-free quota on tobacco for residents of Norway.

Both COLOR VIKING and COLOR CARRIER will be put up for sale in the global market.

Color Line says it will seek to minimize the number of redundancies through redeployment to other ships in the fleet and by offering voluntary schemes.

Finnlines’ Financial review January–September 2022

By | 2022 Newsletter week 44 | No Comments

Key figures

  • +31% Revenue EUR 558.4 million
  • +42% Result EUR 105.2 million
  • EBITDA, amounted to EUR 169.2 (121.2 in 2021) million.
  • Financial performance has improved although consumer and business confidence has been hit by the war in Ukraine, accelerating inflation and soaring energy costs.
  • Considering the economic instability, freight volumes have been fairly good during the first three quarters of 2022.

Finnlines introduced three new Eco-class hybrid roro vessels, which operate on the route Bilbao–Zeebrugge/Antwerp–Travemünde–Helsinki/Kotka.

In July, Finnlines launched a new freight route between Rosslare, Ireland, and Zeebrugge, Belgium, providing an important link between Ireland and rest of Europe. This line was highly welcomed by the market and, therefore, a smaller ro-ro vessel was quickly replaced by a larger vessel with nearly 4,200 lane metres for cargo.

The EUR 500 million investment programme includes two Superstar ro-pax vessels in addition to the three hybrid ro-ro vessels already in service. Both vessels will have capacity to carry 1,100 passengers, which is about twice the capacity of the existing ro-pax vessels on the route. The cargo capacity will increase from just over 4,000 lane metres in the current vessels to 5,200 lane metres. The new vessels will start operating on the Naantali–Långnäs–Kapellskär route in autumn 2023.

FINNSIRIUS and FINNCANOPUS will significantly enhance the passenger experience

Finnlines: service improvements for Ireland route

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  • Zeebrugge’s berth 106 will be dedicated to the Finnlines Rosslare service (this is the roro berth behind the P&O Ferries building)
  • As from week 45 Finnlines will have their own berth and marshalling area in Zeebrugge.
  • Roro FINNSUN will be replaced by sistership FINNWAVE. The latter has been fitted with an additional pilot door to avoid delays previously experienced at Wandelaar Pilot Station, Zeebrugge. The new door allows the SWATH-pilot vessels to go alongside (instead of having to transfer the pilot from the SWATH by tender).
  • New schedule as from week 45; depart 03:00 Monday instead of 16:00 from Rosslare, a sailing underutilised by the market. This is to facilitate departure at 23:59 every Tuesday from Zeebrugge with arrival 06:00 Thursday in Rosslare. All European production on Monday and Tuesday can therefore be delivered anywhere in Ireland on Thursday. Thursday & Saturday sailings are consistently heavily booked and advance planning is advised.

Finnlines’ Financial Review H1

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  • +32% revenue totalling EUR 356.9 million
  • +0.5% cargo units totalling 393,000
  • -19% cars totalling 73,000
  • +9% tons of freight not possible to measure in units, totalling 742,000
  • +25% passengers (incl. commercial) totalling 286,000
  • Due to EU sanctions Finnlines stopped calling Russian ports in early March, which naturally has resulted in loss of revenue. However, the increased cargo volumes on other lines have compensated for this loss and the passenger business has also recovered and reached pre-pandemic figures.
  • The three Finneco series hybrid ro-ro vessels were all delivered during the late spring and early summer of 2022 at the shipyard in China. The vessels have entered Finnlines’ North Sea and Bay of Biscay services.
  • The roro vessel FINNMERCHANT in Poland-Finland route was chartered out to Dutch MoD in early July but she was replaced by FINNMILL vessel to support the increased volumes.

Finnlines opens a new line between Zeebrugge and Rosslare

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On 23 July 2022, Finnlines will launch a new service between Rosslare and Zeebrugge. The route will be operated by roro FINNPULP (3,259 lane metres – 225 trailers)

There will be two departures per week from each direction.

“Demand for freight services from Ireland to Continental Europe has grown in the wake of Brexit and the new route will provide a crucial link for Irish industry. The Finnish industry, as well as German and Spanish industries, will also have an easier access to Ireland via transshipment in Zeebrugge,” says the Finnlines press release.

FINNECO I entered service

By | 2022 Newsletter week 24 | No Comments

FINNECO I, the first of three new hybrid roro’s for Finnlines arrived in Zeebrugge on June 12th, after the long delivery journey from China. The vessel discharged at the ICO terminal, before sailing to Antwerp on 15 June.

The vessel will be used on the service between Bilbao-Belgium (Zeebrugge/Antwerp)-Germany (Lübeck/Travemünde)-Estonia (Paldiski)-Finland (Kotka/Helsinki).

The impressive ship is 238m long, with a cargo capacity of 5,800 lane metres. (400 trailers)

Q1 2022, a success for Finnlines

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•  +27% Revenue EUR 157.0 (124.1)
•  Shipping and Sea Transport Services generated revenue amounting to EUR 150.6 (117.8) million, of which passenger related revenue was EUR 7.5 (5.1) million.
•  The revenue of Port Operations was EUR 12.1 (11.7) million.
•  Cargo units 199k (187k)
•  Cars 36k (44k)
•  Freight tonnes 375k (305k) (freight not possible to measure in units)
•  Pax 117k (101k)

Emanuele Grimaldi, President and CEO, in conjunction with the review:

•  Russia-Ukraine war could likely slowdown the Finnish economy.
•  We stopped vessels operating to and from Russia. The Russian traffic does not represent a meaningful share of our turnover, but it has complemented well our other lines.
• The volumes on each of our other lines we operate have increased in Q1 and positive cargo development is expected to continue.

Ship movements:

•  Finnlines has sold ropax FINNCLIPPER to Grimaldi Group in March 2022
•  Finnlines will purchase ropax VIZZAVONA (ex FINNEAGLE) from Grimaldi Group to replace FINNCLIPPER.
•  Chartered roro EUROCARGO SAVONA, returned to Grimaldi Group in mid-March 2022.
•  The first Eco-series vessel, FINNECO I, was delivered on 28 April 2022 at the Jinling Shipyard. T
•  FINNECO II and III will follow in May 2022, and the two Superstar ropaxes in 2023.