The newly published Finnlines annual report reveals a set of strong financial figures and another milestone in our Company’s return to profitability.
Those who have read these Finnlines News editorials in recent years know the healthy margins we now see are in large part the result of a razor-eyed focus on efficiency and efforts to maximise asset use.
2017 annual report sees us enter a new phase: we are now growing with the market and for the market. Favourable trading conditions helped push cargo volumes to 709,000 units, up from 629,000 in 2016. We shipped 147,000 cars (not including passengers’ cars) and carried 619,000 passengers: again, comfortably up on the previous year. This had a knock-on effect on revenues for the 12 months, which were up by EUR 58 million (some of which is attributable to bunker surcharges).
A positive result for Finnlines is good news in particular for Finland. Our vessels, 18 of which are Finnish-flagged, carry the majority of Finland’s unitised, wheeled imports and exports. These units contain everything and anything, from vegetables to toys and car parts. If we see volumes grow, trade in Finland and the Baltic region is healthy. Finnlines also employs over 1,600 people.
Having done well in the last few years, now is time to invest. To meet demand and even exceed it, we have brought in new capacity and have increased existing capacity via a ship lengthening programme. We recently announced the purchase of the Star class cruise-ferry Europalink from our parent, the Grimaldi Group. She has a capacity of 4,215 lane metres and 554 passengers and will be fitted with exhaust gas scrubbers in mid-March, as is standard for the Finnlines fleet. She will also enjoy a refurbishment, ensuring public areas have a fresh look, before trading on the Malmö–Travemünde route under the Swedish flag.
The previously announced Finnlines ship lengthening programme is proceeding to plan. The second vessel in the series, the MS Finnwave, was lengthened by 30 metres, increasing her capacity by another 1,000 lane metres to 4,192 lane metres before she rejoined the Uusikaupunki/Turku–Travemünde route. By the end of May, a further two vessels, MS Finnsun and MS Finnsky, will be lengthened. We have an option to lengthen two additional units. Another ship, the Nordolink, is to be given a facelift and renamed Finnswan.
Fleet additions and lengthening are set to be complemented by newbuildings, too. We have signed a letter of intent for the construction of ice-class vessels which will be, we believe, the largest ro-ro ever built for the European market.
Increased capacity, environmental investments, an unending focus on fuel efficiency and a constant desire to improve service standards mean we are well positioned to take advantage of any upswing. This has been a collective effort by employees, who together have helped ensure we maintain the trust of our customers and partners.