The Covid-19 virus has hit Gothenburg ferry company, which over the past year has been forced to issue a huge warning and keep the crew isolated after the outbreak of the Coronavirus on board. At the same time, passengers fell drastically on company ferries.
The overall drop in ridership over the past year was 75 percent, says Karl Martinson, Stena Line’s press director.
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You want alcohol, perfumes, and sweets
But now the company can show positive reservation numbers, even if from low levels, they point out: a 107 percent increase in April on the Danish roads – Gothenburg-Frederikshamn and Halmstad-Grena – compared to last year.
The number of passengers with their own cars from Denmark is increasing, but the freight company is also seeing that more and more people are choosing to take so-called day trips from Gothenburg without going to the beach. What you do is shop, and for the most part, 80 percent, it’s alcohol-related, followed by perfumes and sweets.
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That’s why I started shipping company once
Stena Line started nearly 60 years ago and the whole idea is that you can travel and shop cheaply in Denmark. Today – or rather, in non-epidemic times – shipping is twice as much as travel, and travel is twice as much on-board sales, that is, food, drink and shopping.
It’s one of our three important sources of income, and it’s an important reason to travel on many of our routes, which, however, became less important in 1999 when tax-free travel between European Union countries was removed, says Martinson.
Sales on board today will be cheaper than on the beach, in part because you are subject to the Danish alcohol tax.
Here, the tax relief has exploded
These tax-free inducements became very evident elsewhere in the Stena Line’s network, and specifically on the many lines in the Irish Sea and the North Sea. Before the pandemic, the effects of Brexit were a cloud of anxiety for the Swedish shipping company, which can now at least see a positive result for the UK leaving the European Union: an increase in domestic sales of up to 80% during the first quarter. This is despite the fact that fewer passengers have traveled by ferries as a result of the epidemic.
On the tax credit front, it has exploded there, and we expect it will be more the more you open up in conjunction with the increase in vaccination in the UK, says Martinson.
The bestseller on board between Gothenburg and Frederikshamn
Norlands Gold first
Royal Export First
Carlsberg Hove Oil
Glenn Alpine Scotch Whiskey
The famous grouse whiskey
Beefeater London Jane
Source: Stena Line
Waiting for more comfort
Optimism is building now ahead of the peak season this summer as more Danish relief is expected on May 1.
We don’t believe the high season will be the same as before, but it is positive, says Martinson.
– We follow the recommendations and receive information from the authorities, which we will then translate into the travel rules, so if you are going to travel now, it is a good idea to try to stay updated on our websites.
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He did a better job than others
During the year of the pandemic, some shipping company lines were affected more than others, but when the Stena early chose to close heavy passenger lines – such as Trelleborg-Sassnitz and Oslo-Fredrikshamn – they performed better than many competitors still standing today, according to Martinson.
Stena Lines are now running at nearly full speed and between Gutenberg and Frederikshamn, the ferries run two or three times a day during the entire epidemic.
Sometimes, however, we changed ships and left Stena Danica, which still takes a lot of passengers, for example, says Martinson.
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