During the year, we strengthened the Gotland service by expanding the capacity offering, which also resulted in higher volumes for passengers, passen- ger cars and, in particular, freight. To achieve this, in addition to the regular ferries, M/S Gute was put into summer service in order to offer more space on the car decks and to facilitate the transport of more passenger cars on the other ferries. As the new vessel M/S Visborg was introduced into service in March 2019, the capacity on the car decks grew for the days with highest demand by up to 20 per cent, which our customers will appreciate when many people want to travel.
A weak market
In product tankers, the weak mar- ket from the previous year continued in 2018. An oversupply of vessels has produced a lower degree of utilisation than needed to improve earnings. However, the beginning of 2019 looks more encouraging and earnings have
improved slightly. The four ice-classed product tankers have been chartered out on time charter, instead of the previous deployment in the Hafnia MR pool, which provides more stable revenues and the possibility of an increase providing the market improves. In addition to a weak market, the costs for operating the vessels have been higher than expected, and changes have been introduced to bring down costs in the future.
Our core business is most important
As part of our initiative to strengthen our core business, we will be handing over the assignment to operate the Wax- holm companies fleet for Stockholm County Council in 2019 to the Blidösund company that won the tender which was signed in 2018. After a turbulent start to our assignment for the archipelago ser- vices, the past few years have worked out well. A crucial factor for the turn- around has been the employees in the Skärgårdsbolaget who provide reliability and loyalty to our customers.
Environmental impact in focus
Destination Gotland released its first sustainability report in 2018, and our aim has become even clearer in terms of being able to operate climate-neutral ferry services. A new vessel with new fuel provides lower emissions but the continuous improvements that are always being implemented for our day to day services are equally important.
Our most important asset
With the new ferries, the value of the company’s assets is rising substantially and the balance sheet total is increasing in a unique way being a shipping company of our size. The unique factor is the initiative aimed at continuing to expand Gotland in a sustainable way without any adverse climate impact. In this expansion, the value of our most important asset, our employees who are constantly striving to improve our business, also rises. A big thank you for your efforts over the course of the year!
Ann-Marie Åström, Chairman
Håkan Johansson, CEO