According to 2013 “Ferrystat” figures, released by Discover Ferries, passenger figures are up almost a million from the 2012 figure of just over 37 million, when the Olympics and poor weather affected summer bookings, and 2013 coach figures are the best since 2008.
Routes to the Continent via the English Channel and North Sea provided the best passenger growth in 2013, up 5.8% at 17.66 million. Within this sector, the short sea continent routes from Dover to Calais and Dunkirk, with operators DFDS, MyFerryLink and P&O Ferries, grew passenger numbers by 6.8% to 12.7million, while the longer Western Channel routes with operators Brittany Ferries, DFDS and Condor Ferries grew 4.2% to 2.8 million. North Sea routes to the Continent by DFDS, P&O Ferries and Stena Line, grew passenger numbers by 1.7% to 2.13million.
Domestic mainland ferry routes maintained a total of 15.6 million passengers in 2013, with Scottish routes performing best, served by ferry lines like CalMac, Northlink, and P&O Ferries, up 3.7% to nearly 6 million passengers, and Condor Ferries’ Channel Islands routes up 2.6% to 353,000.
Of the 8.37 million cars transported by ferries in 2013, up 1.1% overall, the key growth came from the largest Continental ferry route sector carrying over 3.78 million cars (up 3.6%), offsetting slight falls on the domestic ferry routes (3.45 million cars carried - down 1.1%) and the Irish Sea routes (1.13million cars carried- down 0.4%).
Coach numbers on Discover Ferries members’ ships rose overall by 4.1% in 2013 to over 158,000. Nearly 104,000 of these were on ferry coach trips to the Continent, showing a strong growth of 6% on these routes. Irish Sea coach carrying by ferries grew even more, by 7.2%, to 22,300 coaches.
“These overall passenger, car and coach growth figures across the ferry industry in 2013 are very encouraging, and we have certainly bounced back from a challenging year in 2012, when the Olympics and rotten summer weather affected holiday bookings” said Discover Ferries director, Bill Gibbons.
“The hot summer in 2013 more than offset the cold spring, and the no-hassle, relaxed and value-for-money ferry travel experience is increasingly attracting passengers to travel by coach and car on our ferries. At 38 million passengers, ferry travel is now very much a mainstream choice, especially for families on holiday, and this will form the focus of our campaign for this year’s National Ferry Fortnight, running from 15-29 March.”