ICG revenues fall 22.5% in 2020 amid Covid impact

Car traffic slumps almost 66% on Irish Ferries after year of travel bans

The Irish Ferries vessel Ulysses leaves Dublin port. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

The Irish Ferries vessel Ulysses leaves Dublin port. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien


Revenue at ferry group Irish Continental, which owns Irish Ferries, slumped 22.5 per cent in 2020, as measures to combat the spread of Covid-19 restricted travel.

In preliminary results for the year, the ferry company said revenue for the year was €277.1 million, down €80 million on 2019, with earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation more than halving to €42.1 million due to the impact of the pandemic on the company’s passenger business.

Year-end net debt was €88.5 million, and the company had cash and committed bank facilities of €240.8 million at the end of the year.

Car traffic on Irish Ferries slumped 65.8 per cent to 137,100 cars for the year, with ICG opting not to operate the fast craft Dublin Swift given available passenger capacity on its ferries.

Container traffic was also lower, falling 7.9 per cent, and port lifts were down 8.9 per cent.

The roll-on, roll-off (RoRo) freight rose 7.1 per cent to 335,500 freight units for the year. A decline in volumes in the first half was offset by a 16.6 per cent rise in the second half of the year.

The year also saw the group win a tender to operate a container depot at the new Dublin Inland Port, with ICG signing an agreement for a 20-year lease on completion of certain civil works by the landlord.

‘Large-scale disruption’

ICG chairman John B McGuckian said 2020 was an exceptionally challenging year for the group.

“While these restrictions brought large-scale disruption and reductions in our passenger business, the other parts of our business proved resilient throughout the entire year,” he said.

“Our RoRo freight operations grew in 2020 despite the operational and market difficulties presented by the pandemic. The container and terminal division largely maintained its profitability while it optimised capacity levels to meet market demands.”