Irish Ferries owner Irish Continental Group has reported a big jump in revenues as Covid travel restrictions eased compared to the same time last year.
In a trading update for the 10 months to the end of October, ICG said its group revenues soared to €500.5m, an increase of 78.9% compared with last year and a 62.1% increase on 2019.
Revenues in its Irish Ferries division came to €338m, a 133.9% increase on the previous year and an 83.4% increase on 2019.
ICG said the increase was mainly due to the easing of travel restrictions, increased fuel surcharges and the new Dover-Calais service which started in June 2021.
For the year to November 19, Irish Ferries said it carried a total of 525,600 cars, an increase of 198% on the previous year.
Freight carryings amounted to 618,100 RoRo units, a rise of 143.8% compared with 2021.
Excluding volumes on the Dover-Calais route, Irish Ferries said it carried 272,900 cars - an increase of 91.5% on 2021 - and 257,000 RoRo freight units to give growth of 10%.
ICG said its Container and Terminal division saw total revenues of €190.5m, up 30% on the previous year, on the back of increased fuel costs and vessel charter rates.
For the year to November 19, container freight volumes shipped were down 7.4% on the previous year at 292,100 teu (twenty foot equivalent units), with ICH sayusome softness in recent deep sea container movements as world growth slows.
Units handled at its terminals in Dublin and Belfast decreased 4.5% year-on-year to 287,000 lifts, it added.
In today's trading statement, ICG said the world is facing higher inflation and higher interest rates, both of which pose a challenging backdrop for economic growth.
"Deep sea container movements are usually a leading indicator for economic slowdown and the recent weakness here is not unexpected," it said.
"While we assume the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic has passed and some normality to our markets has returned, the level of inflation faced by the business and our customers is concerning," it stated.
"While fuel prices may ease versus earlier in the year with the expected slowdown in economic activity, other costs in the business have increased. The business has so far been successful in passing through most of these increases," it added.