Irish Continental Group plc (ICG), the Irish-based maritime transport group, which includes Irish Ferries, reported that Group revenue generated in the first half of this year totalled €141.6 mill, €10.8 mill more than 1H20.
However, EBIT generated was a loss of €10.3 mill, €0.8 mill worse than 1H20. EBITDA generated was €12.7 mill, €2.7 mill more than the previous year period.
The gross cash balances totalled €131.1 mill (31st December, 2020: €150.4 mill). Net debt was €112.1 mill, some €23.6 mill higher than at the beginning of the year.
During the first half of this year, Irish Ferries started a new service between Dover (UK) and Calais (France) on 29th June.
In addition, further investment was made in environmentally friendly port equipment at Dublin Ferryport Terminals where the capacity will be increased from next year.
Commenting on the results, Chairman John McGuckian (pictured), noted; “The continuation of the Covid-19 pandemic in the first half of the year continued to create an exceptionally challenging trading environment for the Group.
“Travel restrictions in place in the first half of the year have materially reduced our passenger business. Despite this, as per the prior year, the Group has maintained services on all of its shipping routes maintaining critical logistical links to the island of Ireland.
“These services have facilitated not only key logistical links to Britain and the European Union, but have facilitated passenger travel for essential purposes allowing for the movement of critical staff and the repatriation of citizens.
“The Group welcomes the introduction of the EU Digital Covid Certificate and the easing of restrictions on non-essential passenger travel, however, the timing of its introduction limits the benefits for our key summer season.
“On 31st December, 2020, the UK and EU ended the post Brexit transition period. While trade flows have decreased between Ireland and Britain, our flexible fleet has allowed us to adjust capacity on our direct continental ro-ro and container shipping services. While this has led to a reduction in ro-ro volumes, the change in yield mix has resulted in increased ro-ro revenues.
“This increase in revenue is particularly encouraging as it is against the backdrop of both the Covid-19 pandemic and the introduction of customs requirements on the Irish Sea. Still of concern to the Group is the lack of implementation of appropriate checks on goods arriving into Northern Ireland from Britain, which are required under the Northern Ireland Protocol.
“To the extent that goods are destined for the Republic of Ireland, this is causing a distortion in the level playing field as goods that arrive directly into the Republic of Ireland ports from Britain are being checked on arrival.
“On 26th March 2021, ICG subsidiary Irish Ferries announced that it would commence a new ferry service on the Dover/Calais route. This new service launched on 29th June, 2021, with the introduction of the ‘Isle of Inishmore’ on the route.
“I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of the Group to thank all of our colleagues who have again made the retention of all our services possible. Of particular importance has been the continued dedication of our front line colleagues who have faced into a second year of this pandemic and the restrictions and difficulties it has created.
“Again, it is the dedication of all our staff in the ports and terminals and the crew of our ships that have kept our ships sailing, our terminals operating and our supply lines open,” he said.