TOn 18 November 2016, the company’s largest investment to date was launched according to plan. The new LNG driven passenger vessel will increase the capacity of the Gotland service by 50 per cent for freight carrying car deck, which is the most important part for continued growth creation within Gotland’s business community. At the same time, expansion of the eet will pro- vide opportunities to continue developing Gotland as a destination, which during the summer of 2017 will be exempli ed with a new route between Visby and Västervik where HSC Gotlandia, the older of the two small fast ferries, will be in service. The basis of our investment in vessels is Destination Gotland’s objective of reaching two million passengers per year within a ten year period, also a condition for regional growth.
Ahead of delivery of the new vessel, Destination Gotland is wor- king on the development of its product range. New launched services include, for example, a new loyalty programme with “My Destination”, a new online portal with digital services on board in “DG On board” and a new platform for package tours to Gotland with the island of culture “Kulturens Ö”. Improvements have also been made to the existing vessels such as investments in new equipment. In the summer of 2016 more passengers tra- velled by boat to and from Visby than in the past. Together with the competing company, the increase between June-August was 11 per cent compared to the previous year. The competitor’s average occupancy in July was 550 passengers per trip, which shows that Destination Gotland with a capacity of up to 23,920 passengers per day, has the conditions to satisfy demand and drive growth solely with the existing vessels.
For Gotland Tankers the year started with a continued good mar- ket on a level with 2015 and it declined to signi cantly lower levels after the turn of the half-year. Many newly built vessels within product tankers have been and will be delivered during the year, as a result of which the earning potential is uncertain.
The archipelago service can become an interesting broadening of the Group’s operations. However, the conditions for this can only be assessed after renewed procurement.
2016 was an eventful year, which has started to become a habit if we consider the trend of recent years. By means of acquisitions and growth, the Group’s operational activities have increased in scope corresponding to approximately 50 per cent. With invest- ments in the LNG ferries, the consolidated balance sheet will expand to corresponding levels. A major challenge in the future will be ensuring that pro tability in all operations develops in a similar way.
Many thanks to all our employees and shareholders for the past year!