Eurotunnel, the operator of the subsea tunnel between France and the U.K., booked double-digit growth in rail freight and truck traffic in 2011, driven by new services and the collapse of a French ferry line.
Truck shuttles rose 13 percent in the fourth quarter to 344,696 for a full-year total of 1.26 million, up 16 percent on 2010.
Rail freight tonnage increased 7 percent in the fourth quarter to 287,469 metric tons, and annual tonnage rose 17 percent to 1.32 million tons. The number of trains rose 14 percent to 2,388.
“For the first time in seven years, regeneration can be seen in concrete results with the launch of new intermodal services,” Paris-based Eurotunnel said.
The tunnel boosted its share of the U.K.-France truck market by 3.5 percent to more than 38 percent for the full year, peaking at 45 percent in December. The truck market grew 5 percent in 2011 but remains around 12 percent below the 2007 level, Eurotunnel said.
Eurotunnel’s rail freight unit, Eurporte, boosted like-for-like revenue by 26 percent to $207 million, outpacing a 16 percent increase in total group revenue to $1.1 billion.
“In a difficult economic context, Eurotunnel has had a very good year. Our commitment to rail freight is bearing fruit,” Eurotunnel Chief Executive Jacques Gounon said.
Eurotunnel said a 13 percent increase in truck traffic in the fourth quarter was due partly to the financial problems at ferry company Sea-France, which suspended operations. The France line was liquidated at the beginning of the year, and rival carriers are planning to plug the gap on the Dover-Calais route.
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