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Stena Line's superferry investment pays off

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Ferry operator Stena Line bucked industry trends in 2011 by carrying 4.4 per cent more cars on its Harwich-Hook of Holland route, after investing £375 million in new superferries in the previous year.

In a year where the number of cars carried between the UK and Continental Europe remained static, Stena Line transported an additional 5,000 cars to the Netherlands in 2011.

Stena, which introduced two new passenger-freight Superferries on the route in May and October 2010, grew its North Sea car volumes for the fourth consecutive year, reaching a total of 105,000.

The summer was strong, with the operator carrying 15,000 cars per month in July and August and 13,000 in June (2,000 more than the same month in 2010).

Stena Line’s total passenger numbers from Harwich remained above half a million and stayed constant year-on-year, in line with trends of overall volumes travelling to Continental Europe from the UK by ferry and tunnel.

The summer was also the strongest period for overall passenger numbers, with 65,000 passengers travelling from Harwich to the Hook of Holland in August and 68,000 in July, the busiest month on the route since 2006 and 5 per cent more than the same month in 2010.

The biggest growth in volumes on the route was in the coach sector, where Stena Line experienced a 13.7 per cent year-on-year upsurge.

Lars Olsson, Stena Line’s general manager for travel on the North Sea, said, “The success of Stena Line’s North Sea operations in 2011 is particularly impressive given the challenging context both for the ferry industry and the UK travel industry as a whole

“We are pleased to have grown our car and coach traffic to Holland and sustained overall passenger numbers during a difficult year. It’s particularly important for Stena Line to have been successful in 2011 after having invested over £375m on new Superferries the previous year.

“We’re attributing some of the growth to an increase in large groups who are avoiding the high air passenger duty tax on UK flights. There have also been growing numbers of business and leisure passengers from East Anglia and London, using our overnight crossings for short trips where they get to travel in comfort whilst they sleep and take advantage of our wine and coffee bars, choice of restaurants, free WiFi, dedicated areas for children and teenagers and nine types of cabin.

“Stena Line expects a strong 2012 on the North Sea despite the ongoing challenging market conditions, notably thanks to outbound demand fuelled by large-scale Dutch events such as the return of Floriade, the 10-yearly international flower exhibition, and inbound demand stimulated by the Olympics.”

Last Updated ( Friday, 17 February 2012 10:21 )