For the second time in a row, Finnish passengers have ranked Viking Line as the most sustainable shipping company in operation between Finland and Sweden, according to the results of the Passenger Transport Ferries 2023 survey.
Nearly 50% of those who completed the survey will choose even more climate-smart transport modes in the future, and two thirds are prepared to pay to reduce their environmental impact.
Viking Line’s sustainability index for service between Finland and Sweden is 71.1, while the industry average is 70.1. The index measures customers’ views and perceptions of the actions of shipping companies in terms of corporate social responsibility and sustainable development.
The ferry operator received the best marks in all sections of the sustainability index: economic, social and environmental sustainability.
This index is part of EPSI Rating’s broad Passenger Transport Survey 2023, for which 928 Finnish passengers were interviewed. The other shipping companies involved in the survey operating between Finland and Sweden were Finnlines and Silja Line.
“We are proud of our ranking, because we have carried out focused environmental work since the 1980s and also take into consideration the other aspects of sustainability in all our operations.
“It is very encouraging that, according to the survey, our passengers have the greatest expectations in terms of sustainable development – and they are also the most satisfied with our communication on sustainability. In order to make sustainable choices, people need knowledge, and we want to give our passengers more and more of this every year,” said Dani Lindberg, Viking Line’s Sustainability Manager.
Of the people who responded to the survey, 51% indicated that they took the climate and environmental impact of their travel into account. Some 46% intend to choose transport modes that are even more climate-smart in the future, while 31% planned to reduce their travel.
However, only 3% of respondents planned to replace face-to-face meetings with digital ones.
“One of our biggest environmental initiatives this year is that we offer our passengers and will soon offer our cargo customers the chance to purchase biofuel to offset the fuel used on their trip. When a passenger booking a trip chooses biofuel, greenhouse gas emissions from their journey are reduced by as much as 90%, compared to the other fuels that our vessels use.
“A full 68% of those who completed the EPSI survey indicated that they are prepared to pay for reduced emissions. On a cruise between Turku and Stockholm, the biogas supplement per passenger is scarcely five euros, so we think this new option will satisfy our customers’ wishes really well,” Lindberg explained.
Other areas explored in the survey were customer satisfaction and customer loyalty. In the service between Finland and Sweden, Viking Line won both categories.
In particular, EPSI Rating’s Passenger Transport 2023 survey examined customers’ experience and satisfaction for different maritime transport companies.
A total of 928 Finnish individuals who took at least one cruise or one scheduled sailing from Finland over the past 12 months were surveyed. The interviews were conducted during the period 3rd to 9th May, 2023. The survey was also conducted in Sweden and Estonia.
Viking Line also revealed that between June and August this year, almost 1.8 mill passengers and 227,00 cars were transported on its vessels with many departures during the summer season being sold out.
Passenger figures increased the most on the Tallinn route, which saw an 8.7% increase to 656,401 passengers.
Viking said it had prepared for the increase by doubling capacity on its Tallinn departures during the summer peak and for six weeks, operated three ropaxes across the Gulf of Finland.
The Turku/Stockholm route also registered an increase of 8.1% to 801,919 passengers during the period, which was partially driven by the newly delivered ropax ‘Viking Glory’.
Among the reasons for the strong demand was local tourism, which proved popular in both Finland and Sweden, plus the recovery of international tourism in the Nordic region.
A relatively cheap Swedish krona also drew visitors to Stockholm.
South Korea was also a new passenger category for Viking Line and provided the largest increase in international passengers. South Koreans tend to travel in groups and want to visit as many countries as possible during their trip.