Eurotunnel’s total revenues for 2008 were €704 million, a decrease of 2% compared to 2007, using a constant exchange rate of £1=€1.216, the average exchange rate for the year 2008. Revenues from the Railways showed an increase of 3% at a constant exchange rate, as a result of the significant increase in the number of Eurostar passengers.
Annual revenues, which progressed well during the first half of 2008, were affected by the fire at the start of September which reduced Shuttle capacity by about 50% and to increase Eurostar journey times by approximately half an hour. A concentration on the railways activity and a Shuttle services commercial policy focused on high contribution customers ensured that the revenues for the fourth quarter suffered only a 24% decrease, at a constant exchange rate.
Truck Shuttle activity
During the first half of 2008, Truck traffic increased by 7%. To limit the consequences of the loss of capacity and in order to maintain service quality in the context of the reduced capacity, Eurotunnel focused on customers with contracts. Improved load factors meant that the number of trucks transported during the fourth quarter of 2008 only decreased by 45%.
Overall the number of trucks transported decreased by 11% for the year.
Passengers Shuttle activity
Passenger Shuttle activity suffered the same effects as a result of the reduction in capacity: growth in the number of cars transported during the first half (+4%) was –reduced by 11% for the full year, although the reduction in traffic in the fourth quarter (-37%) was less than the reduction in capacity (-50%).
This very high level of utilisation should be seen in light of the fact that Eurotunnel suspended certain promotions and travel privileges, putting the emphasis on revenues over volumes.
Bringing the Channel Tunnel back into service after only 30 hours of interrupted service limited the consequences of lack of availability on Eurostar activity. This enabled the high speed train Eurostar to transport more than 9 million passengers in 2008 between London and Paris and London and Brussels for the first time, an increase of more than 10%.
Rail freight trains
Despite the continuing declining trend in the number of trains during the first quarter of 2008 (-13%), the stabilisation seen over the following three quarters limited the decrease in traffic to 4% for the year, with the fourth quarter even showing a slight increase (+6%).
On the other hand, in terms of goods transported rather than the number of trains, it is apparent that the tonnage transported in 2008 increased by 2% (1.24 million tonnes in 2008 compared to 1.21 million tonnes in 2007) for the first time since 2004, thus demonstrating the success of the new pricing structure for rail freight introduced by Eurotunnel in October 2007.