Shipping operator Irish Continental Group has reported an increase in revenue for the first four months of the year.

In a trading statement, the group provides comparisons to the same period last year as well as to the first four months of 2019, the year before the pandemic struck.

ICG said group revenue up to the end of April this year came in at €161.2 million - an increase of 80.5% on last year, but it was also up over 57% on 2019 levels.

Net debt increased by €30 million to stand at just over €174 million.

The increase in debt was accounted for by strategic capital expenditure mainly arising from the acquisition of two vessels.

ICG's Irish Ferries Division recorded revenue of €98.3 million - an increase of 165% on prior year and just over 90% on 2019 levels.

"The increase was principally due to the easing of travel restrictions as compared to the same period last year, increased fuel surcharges and the new Dover - Calais service which commenced in June 2021," the statement said.

For the year to 7 May, Irish Ferries carried 123,600 cars - almost seven times the amount carried last year.

At its Container and Terminal Division, ICG recorded a revenue of €71.7 million - an increase of 27% on the prior year and a near 35% on 2019.

"This increase was predominantly driven by the pass through of increased fuel costs and vessel charter rates," the statement read.

The group said it had been forced to pass those increased costs onto customers.