Ferry operator Stena Line bucked industry trends in 2011 by carrying 4.4 per cent more cars on its Harwich-Hook of Holland route than during the previous year.
In a year where the number of cars carried between the UK and Continental Europe remained static compared to 2010, Stena Line transported an additional 5,000 cars to the Netherlands.
The operator, 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 particularly 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.
Stena Line operates twice-daily six-hour return crossings between Harwich and the Hook of Holland, with fares starting from £59 one-way for an adult and car.