Irish Ferries owner Irish Continental Group (ICG) has revealed that its car volumes decreased 62% while its total passenger volumes dropped 60% between January 1 and June 6 of this year due to the COVID-19 crisis.
During the same period, ICG's Irish Ferries RoRo freight business and container & terminal division experienced a 4% decline in volumes, with container volumes decreasing 13% and container lifts on the company's terminals decreasing 14%.
"Committed" To Continuation Of "Vital" Loss-Making Routes
ICG stated, "With the cessation of passenger business during the COVID-19 outbreak, some ferry routes out of Ireland, which are critically important in providing essential services, became cash negative. Recognising the need to help certain routes remain open, the Irish government adopted a Public Services Obligation (PSO) model covering the shortfall between variable revenue and certain variable costs. This was not an approach that we recommended as we believe this model was liable to create distortions in the marketplace and could be open to legal challenge. For both these reasons, we decided not to participate in this PSO model, but we committed, without any government support, to continue operating our loss-making routes which provide a vital lifeline service to our island.
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"We will continue to work closely with all relevant authorities and closely monitor the developing situation. The group, where appropriate, has availed of governments' staff retention support schemes across Europe.
"We would like to take this opportunity to thank the crews on our ships, our terminal and office staff, our passengers who have travelled for essential reasons, our freight customers and their drivers who all continue to work in very difficult circumstances."
"Strong Financial Position"
ICG added, "The group is in a strong financial position to weather this COVID-19 storm, and we would refer investors to our cash and undrawn credit facilities position at 31st December 2019."
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