Towards the end of 2010, the company’s 146th financial year, the world economy began to show signs of cautious recovery. However, at the same time, many countries were grappling with budgetary problems which, along with security policy events, affected both exchange rates and the price of oil.
The fact that Rederi AB Gotland’s profit for 2010 fell to SEK 109 million, compared with SEK 184 million for 2009, is ex- plained partly by the somewhat weaker product tanker mar- ket in 2010 but also by the above factors, in particular the changes in exchange rates. As the company’s earnings are in USD, whereas we account in SEK, the dramatic strengthening of SEK against USD has had an effect.
The investment in product tankers must be seen in the long term. This has been and remains a successful investment and we expect the market gradually to recover after the decline in 2008-2010. In particular, we believe that the ice-classed MR vessels will have a good future, considering the growing transport volumes in areas with ice.
Our partnerships in Laurin Maritime and Wisby Tankers have continued to be successful, as have our partnerships with Wisby Shipmanagement and Hafnia. These partnerships have helped us cope with the decline on the product tanker market relatively well to date.
On the Gotland service, Destination Gotland continued to be successful in 2010 and we had the pleasure to note the eleventh record year in a row in terms of passenger volumes. We are pleased with the positive response we receive from passengers and customers on the current transport systems but, at the same time, the development of the price of fuel and the future availability of the fuel qualities that will be required gives us cause for some concern. Therefore, we are continuing with our planning to introduce LNG as a fuel on vessels from 2015, which will, in turn, pave the way for biogas as a fuel.
We are pleased to be able to welcome the staff of GotlandsResor AB back to the group. With the activities of GotlandsResor, we are further expanding our involvement in the development of Gotland and its community. This involvement has been at the heart of the company’s operations since its formation in 1865. In addition to the ferry service, which is essential to Gotland, we have invested in structures and modern support systems for marketing, reservations and sales in relation to Gotland as a tourist destination. These are now being managed in a broad partnership with other operators in the tourist industry on Gotland. This paves the way for us to concentrate our efforts to achieve common objectives and thus to further enhance the competitiveness of Gotland as a brand.
We are pleased with the volume increases brought about by these common efforts and are approaching, in the group, 1.7 million passengers, 500,000 cars and 50,000 trucks between Gotland and the Swedish mainland, as well as, with GotlandsResor, 175,000 guest nights on the island in one year.
Finally, we would like to thank all our employees warmly.