Harwich: Continued growth for Stena Line on Hook of Holland ferry route

FERRY operator Stena Line said today it had continued to buck industry trends as it reported a 10% increase in passenger numbers on its Harwich-Hook of Holland route during the first quarter of 2012.

In a year in which many passenger ferries have struggled to maintain numbers so far, Stena Line saw increase of 11% in cars transported to the Netherlands on the Harwich- Hook of Holland route in March.

And the operator, which introduced two new passenger-freight superferries on the route in May and October 2010, says it is on track to grow its North Sea volumes for the fifth consecutive year.

Nearly 30,000 passengers and 5,700 cars were carried on the route in March, an increase of 17% compared to the same month last year, which means Stena Line has now taken a total of more than 78,000 passengers from Harwich in the first three months of 2012.

Lars Olsson, Stena Line’s general manager for travel on the North Sea, said: “We are facing increasingly challenging times and it is reassuring to know that we are growing our customer base, even though we have to fight much harder to attract new customers.

“Our investment in the superferries is really paying off and it seems that people are now realising that travelling with us is a much more luxurious and relaxing experience. Air Passenger Duty has hiked up once more and the airports are getting increasingly crowded so it is hardly surprising that people are choosing to travel by ferry.

“Our passenger figures have also been helped by our dutchflyer service, which has been growing steadily in popularity. Greater Anglia’s drive to improve the quality of the rail component of the service, thanks to new operator Abellio, will also make a significant difference,” he added.

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“Inbound demand created by the Olympics together with an increase in bookings due to Floriade the World Horticultural Expo, held once every 10 years means we are optimistic for the rest of 2012.”