TALLINN - Saaremaa Laevakompanii (Saaremaa Shipping) executives expressed satisfaction with the Saaremaa Island'sVentspils route as the shipper's inaugural season ended on Sept. 25.
Anu Lomp, CEO of SLK Ferries, said the company was satisfied with how the route was geared and the season was extended by one month due to high demand.
"We certainly did not start making a profit this year," Lomp told the Baltic News Service. "Shipping routes have a long payback period, and one doesn't normally start making a profit in the first year. But the number of passengers was a pleasant surprise to us; the route went into operation better than we had expected."
The route saw 15,149 passengers and 3,275 vehicles during its first summer season.
Lomp said SLK Ferries, which was established to handle the Ventspils route, expected growth to continue next season, which begins in May 2006.
"We are hoping for the growth to double," Lomp said.
He added that most of the passengers on the route were Latvians, followed by Estonians and Lithuanians. There were also a large number of Germans and Finns as well, he added.
Lomp explained that if this year most of the passengers traveled on their own, then next year the company intended to focus on tourist groups and freight carriers. "Routes to Rostock and Karlshamn moving from Liepaja to Ventspils will certainly contribute to it," he said. "There will be departures from Ventspils to two German and two Swedish ports, which will increase logistic opportunities for the movement of goods or passengers between different countries."