Norway’s iconic coastal shipping line known as Hurtigruten reported strong passenger growth during the second quarter of the year, generating a welcome jump in pre-tax profits. The shipping line earlier has struggled to maintain profitability in the face of rising costs and weather-related setbacks.
The company reported an 18 percent increase in profits to NOK 122 million, compared to NOK 103 million in the same quarter last year. Results improved on both Hurtigruten’s voyages along the Norwegian coast between Bergen and Kirkenes and in its cruise operations to Greenland, Svalbard and the Antarctic.
The specially built vessel MS Fram, designed to sail in rough and icy seas and used for the cruise operations, filled 76 percent of its passenger capacity during the second quarter, up from 63 percent last year. Hurtigruten’s vessels sailing along the coast averaged occupancy rates of 69 percent, up from 65 percent in last year’s second quarter.
Company officials said prospects for the third quarter were also good, while Hurtigruten has also enjoyed strong passenger growth during the winter months. That used to be considered the low season, but now the voyages are attracting passengers keen on trying to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights.