Irish Ferries reported passenger numbers carried were down 3.2pc at 1.623m from 1.676m in 2015.
In the first half of the year, Irish Ferries passenger volumes were down 1.9pc and in the second half of the year, which is seasonally more significant, the decrease in passenger numbers was 4.1pc.
The number of cars carried was up 3.3pc in the year to 414,100 units from 400,900 units. In the first half of the year Irish Ferries grew its car volumes by 5.5pc while in the second half of the year, which includes the busy summer holiday season, volumes grew by 1.8pc.
It is estimated that the overall car market, to and from Ireland, grew by approximately 0.6pc in 2016 to 794,100 cars, while the all-island market, i.e. including routes into Northern Ireland, is estimated to have grown by 2.0pc.
The total sea passenger market (i.e. comprising car, coach and foot passengers) to and from Ireland declined by 3.1pc in 2016, to a total of 3.1m passengers, while the all-island market decreased by 1.2pc.
The charter-in of the MV Epsilon has been extended for a further period of two years. The charter will now expire in November 2018.
The company will bring a €144m new ferry into service next year to replace the Epsillon routes. The new ferry, scheduled for delivery in May 2018, will accommodate 1,885 passengers and crew, with 435 cabins and with capacity for 2,800 lane metres of freight (165 freight vehicles) plus an additional dedicated car deck with capacity for 300 passenger cars.
Passenger facilities will be spread over 4 decks and will offer a choice of 435 cabins to include suites with their own private external balconies, along with deluxe and standard class accommodation. In addition to a superb choice of bars, restaurants (to include both á la carte and self-service options), special provision has been made for premium Club Class passengers, with a dedicated lounge featuring private access direct from the vehicle decks. A choice of state of the art entertainment options and cinemas, dedicated facilities for freight drivers, as well as retail outlets and onboard facilities for pets, will ensure that all our passengers will be comfortable and engaged throughout their journey.
The RoRo freight market between Ireland, and the U.K. and France, continued to grow in 2016 on the back of the Irish economic recovery, with the total number of trucks and trailers up 7.0pc, to approximately 952,000 units. On an all-island basis, the market increased by around 5.8pc to approximately 1.75m units.
Irish Ferries’ carryings, at 286,100 freight units (2015: 272,500 freight units), were up 5.0pc in the year with volumes up 5.6pc in the first half and 4.4pc in the second half. The freight market enjoyed strong growth in 2016 helped by favourable economic conditions in Ireland. The growth in the freight market reflects the continued strong performance by the Irish Economy and our ongoing focus on our customer needs.
The company reported Revenue up 1.5pc to €325.4m (2015: €320.6m) and EBITDA up 10.6pc to €83.5m (2015: €75.5m),
- See results presentation here
- This statement can also be viewed on the Irish Stock Exchange website and at www.icg.ie