Thursday, March 10, 2016

Irish RoRo Ferry and Container Freight Figures Give an Insight into Irish Trade

2015 Results Show Signs of an Economy Recovering
Shipping News Feature
IRELAND – UK – The Irish Continental Group (ICG), owner of Irish Ferries recently released full year figures for 2015 and they provide a good barometer for the islands shipping trade, combining as they do movements to and from both parts of the country. Overall the year showed good growth with a positive operational and financial performance in both divisions building upon the continued Irish economic recovery. In the Republic, ICG is the country’s leading maritime provider with Roll on Roll off (RoRo) and container Lift on Lift off (LoLo) freight, as well as passenger services, on routes between Ireland, the United Kingdom and Continental Europe.

The two ICG divisions, Ferries which is principally RoRo backed up with chartering services and a Container and Terminal division, which includes the container shipping line, Eucon, and two container terminals, Dublin Ferryport Terminals (DFT) and Belfast Container Terminal (BCT).

Revenue for ferries rose 10.6% against 2014 to €203.9 million as the total sea passenger market remained flat whilst RoRo freight between the Republic of Ireland, and the UK and France was up around 6% to 888,000 units whilst an all island figure dropped total growth to 4% (1.66 million units). Irish Ferries share however was significantly better than this with its share up 9.9% to 272,500 units.

The addition of another vessel in 2013 enabled the company to increase frequency accounting for the upturn. Meanwhile Irish Ferries extended its chartering activities when four LoLo container vessels were purchased in late 2015 for a combined cost of €24.2 million. These have capacities between 803 and 980 TEU and are in addition to the vessel already chartered to KiwiRail for four years and operating in New Zealand.

Revenue in the division increased to €118.2 million derived from container handling and related ancillary revenues at the terminals and in Eucon from a mix of domestic door-to-door, quay-to-quay and feeder services. 71% of revenue was from imports into Ireland and overall container volumes shipped were up 3.4% to 286,500 TEU. The figures were boosted by the variation in currencies and as fuel prices fell, but tempered somewhat in a year which saw the Eucon fleet obliged to utilise higher cost low sulphur fuel due to the EU Sulphur Directive. Commenting on the results Chairman John B McGuckian said:

“2015 was another successful year for the group with growth in revenue of 10.5% to €320.6 million and earnings before non-trading items, interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of €75.5 million, up 49.5%. During 2015 the Group benefited from lower world fuel prices, stronger Sterling and increased carryings. The Group maintains a pivotal position in facilitating Ireland’s international trade and tourism and is operationally geared to the economic recovery in Ireland. We have seen the benefits of this recovery continue into the early weeks of 2016 which, notwithstanding a weakening in Sterling and assuming current oil prices, gives us confidence that we can look forward in 2016, in the absence of unforeseen developments to further growth in revenue and earnings.”