In summer 2017, the second LNG ferry, M/S Thjelvar, was launched. This ferry, like the rst vessel M/S Visborg, is being built at the GSI shipyard in China. The new building project has been in progress since 2014 and, according to plans, the rst vessel will enter service during the year. The entry into service of the vessel will mean lower emissions and a reduced environmental impact and it is the most important building block for sustainable growth on Gotland.
During the building period, Destination Gotland has two vessel concepts that overlap each other. This means that capac- ity is maintained at a higher level than required in the agreement with the Swedish Transport Administration. For example, according to the schedule for summer services in 2018 for the existing vessels, Destination Gotland offers up to 23,920 passengers per day the ability to travel which is up to 30% more than the tender which the agreement is based on. As reported and not unusual in such an extensive project, there is a risk of late delivery but, as far as we are concerned, without the capacity in the Gotland service suffering.
During the year, more people than ever travelled with Destination Gotland and, compared to 2016 and the volume that also travelled with the competing shipping company, the total outcome for the whole year for all ferry services was a marginal reduction of 1.3%, whereas, on the contrary, the outcome in July, when demand is greatest, showed an increase in the number of passengers. During 2018, Destination Gotland is devoting more resources and broadening the schedule with more departures and bringing forward the opening of the season on the Västervik-Visby line.
During the autumn and winter, extensive work has been carried out on strategic planning with a view to the next procurement by the Gotland services to ensure our competitiveness and ability to invest in the next generation of vessels. The work has meant a clearer focus on the company’s core activities, which is natural in view of the current investments in new vessels. That also means that the company will focus to a lesser extent on the area outside the Gotland services.
As far as product tankers are concerned, the market has con- tinued to be weak during the year due to high levels of access to vessels. Demand for loads of re ned oil products is increasing, but is not expected to have any impact on earnings in the coming period due to a high supply of tonnage.
In archipelago services, Stockholm County Council chose to cancel the previous interim agreement since the conditions were not sustainable. A new interim agreement has been entered into and is valid during 2018 and a new procurement will be carried out.
With increased volumes and new vessels on the way in, we have an extremely exciting year in front of us, during which the ground will be laid for sustainable growth on Gotland.
Many thanks to all our employees and shareholders for the past year!