East Anglia: Strong first half for Stena’s Harwich-Hook of Holland route

FERRY operator Stena Line carried record numbers of passengers and cars on its Harwich-Hook of Holland route during the first six months of 2012, new figures have revealed.

Passenger numbers on the route for January to June were 1.9% up on the same period last year while the number of cars carried was 1.7% higher.

Both totals are the highest recorded for any first-half period since the launch of Stena’s current twice-daily timetable five years ago, with the growth rates equivalent to an extra 4,000 passengers and 800 more cars.

Stena’s “dutchflyer” offer, which includes rail travel at either end of the ferry crossing, proved particularly popular, with numbers up by 7% compared with last year’s first half.

This included 11% growth during the second quarter of the year, which helped to ease an overall 0.7% fall in passenger numbers for the April to June period which also saw slower growth in car numbers, at 0.6%.

Lars Olsson, Stena Line’s general manager for travel on the North Sea, said: “Stena Line is very pleased to see efforts to sustain growth on the North Sea route to Holland paying off.

“We’re acutely aware of the difficult market conditions and have worked smartly to strengthen demand, despite the context of a slip into the UK’s first double-dip recession since the 1970s.

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“We invested more than �375million in our new North Sea superferries in 2010 so continued growth is of paramount importance.

“Stena Line expects the sea transport sector to remain volatile throughout 2012 so will redouble its efforts, notably around the 50th anniversary of the company’s founding, this September.”