2010: Ferry industry is traveller's port in a storm
The ferry industry came into its own last year as the ash cloud grounded planes, according to the Passenger Shipping Association (PSA).
Some 35 million people, eight million cars and 140,000 coaches went to sea. These figures incorporate 300,000 extra passengers who were transported by ferry to the continent and Ireland over the period of volcanic disruption.
Coach numbers were up by 5.6%, foot passengers by 0.4% and cars up by 0.3%.
But the PSA says these figures, which cover all of Britain’s 50-plus ferry routes except Scottish Calmac routes, would have been much higher had the snow and adverse weather conditions not scuppered December’s figures.
The ferries were actually running as normal during the snowfall but passengers could not get to the terminals.
The figures show that in 2010 continental ferries still carried more passengers than Eurotunnel and Eurostar together and almost double the number of cars and coaches that travelled through Eurotunnel.
But the fastest growing sector was the Irish ferry services. Passengers were up by 3.1%, cars by 1.7% and coaches by a healthy 9.7%. Total sailings grew by 2.5%.
PSA director Phil Gibbons said: “Ferry operators have come to the rescue to serve both their, and others’ customers in this freak weather year. Even when road and rail connecting links were struggling in the December snow, ferry services were operating for all those who could get to the ports.
“With overall ferry traffic rising, we will see significant capital investment and new ships in 2011 along with new routes. The reliability, flexibility and value of ferry travel is now hitting home.”
by Dinah Hatch
Wednesday, January 19, 2011