Viking Line Gears Up for a Rebound in 2021

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

January 7, 2021

Photo Courtesy Viking Line

Photo Courtesy Viking Line

At the stroke of midnight on December 31, 2020, the calendar turned and put one of the more 'exceptional' years in the rearview mirror. While COVID-19 related challenges remain, Viking Line reports seeing the proverbial 'light at the end of the tunnel.'

In a recent report Viking Line said that only four of its seven vessels were in regular service during the year, and passenger volume fell 70 percent compared to 2019.  But with the turn of the calendar the carrier sees positive signs, including in 2021, Viking Line’s new, climate-smart vessel Viking Glory will be delivered and, according to the company, "is already attracting great interest."

In 2020, Viking Line was forced to run its operations in an environment where demand collapsed due to travel restrictions and other constraints. 

Within a short time, the company lost virtually all of its revenue while still facing a large share of its costs. A total of 1,927,302 passengers travelled with the company in 2020. The figure for 2019 was 6,300,480. Despite reduced traffic, the number of cargo units was 125,693 (133,940), which correlates with the strong demand for cargo capacity.

So, of the company’s four operational segments – cargo, scheduled service, cruises and passenger cars – three were disrupted by Covid-19. 

Measures have been implemented to ensure the company’s liquidity by adjusting its cost structure and making different financial arrangements. Viking Line’s business model is structured in such a way that cargo traffic alone will not cover variable operating costs – not even since staffing has been reduced to a minimal level.

One bright spot during the year was the great demand in cargo traffic, which shows the importance of maintaining exports and imports between countries even under difficult circumstances. A number of volume records were set, and the load factor was consistently at a very high level. This applies especially to the vessels serving the Turku–Mariehamn–Stockholm and Helsinki–Tallinn routes.

Viking Line has ensured that scheduled service remains in place on the cargo routes where there is demand from our cargo customers.

“In maritime transport, the Covid-19 pandemic has hit passenger transport hardest. Our staff’s engagement and loyalty have been admirable, and their great efforts during this difficult time are greatly appreciated. Viking Line will come out of this stronger," said Viking Line’s CEO, Jan Hanses.
"We are now preparing for the time that will come after the pandemic and look forward to countries reopening soon thanks to the vaccines now being rolled out. It is important that the vaccination process is carried out quickly and efficiently in the countries we serve so that restrictions can be safely lifted again. On January 26, we will celebrate the launch of our new vessel, Viking Glory. We will take delivery in late autumn 2021. The vessel will be unique and beautiful – both inside and out. We are already seeing enormous interest in the vessel, and we are happy about this. It gives us faith in the future.”

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