BRITTANY Ferries has reported its best-ever passenger numbers.
The firm, which operates from Portsmouth International Port, said that overall passenger numbers were up for a fourth consecutive year – the company’s best performance in a decade.
Commercial director Mike Bevens said: ‘We’re delighted to report strong passenger and freight figures for 2016. Brexit has brought challenges to our business, but we remain confident.
‘People will always seek a convenient and enjoyable way to holiday on the continent and families in particular come to us to avoid the hassle of the airport.
‘Our cruise ferries, high speed and économie services will continue to be the most relaxing and attractive way to reach beautiful destinations.’
In total, 2,676,500 passengers were carried in 2016, a rise of three per cent. Turnover was also up 5.2 per cent to €454.9m.
The company operates services from Portsmouth, Poole and Plymouth to France and Spain and around 85 per cent of all passengers are British.
In addition to a growth in passenger numbers, Brittany Ferries reported a rise in freight carried.
In total 204,000 units were transported last year, across all routes, a rise of 6.7 per cent.
Cllr Donna Jones, leader of Portsmouth City Council, said: ‘It’s good to see more positive news about the port.
‘We work closely with Brittany Ferries, as a longstanding partner, and it’s very pleasing to see them enjoying such success.
‘We’ve made substantial investments in the port to make sure it remains an attractive option for passengers and freight customers.’
Mike Sellers, port director at Portsmouth International Port, added: ‘It’s clear that recent investment at Portsmouth International Port is paying off.
‘The figures show Portsmouth is now more popular for ferry crossings to France and Spain than at any other point in the last decade, with a significant rise in passengers, cars and freight.
‘Our stunning airport-style terminal has helped change the face of travel from Portsmouth, and customers also tell us the positive effect of the Hindhead tunnel, when travelling from London and the south east, is another major factor in them choosing to sail from here.
‘Add to that the unrivalled range of routes and sailings that Brittany Ferries offers to France and Spain and it is clear, that despite challenging economic conditions, a growing number of holiday makers and travellers see the benefit of starting their journey across the channel to France and Spain from Britain’s best connected port.’