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Traffic Management Company Fintraffic Ltd’s half-year report, January–June 2022

Published on 2.9.2022

Last edited on 6.9.2022

January–June 2022

  • The Group’s revenue totalled EUR 113.2 million (EUR 94.6 million H1/2021)
  • Consolidated EBITDA was EUR 25.5 (14.6) million 
  • Operating profit/loss amounted to EUR 5.1 (-3.5) million 
  • The Group’s operating result improved due to a recovery in air traffic. However, the flight restrictions imposed as a consequence of the Ukraine war are still having a significant impact on demand for air navigation services and the income they generate.
  • Both the service and safety level of traffic management has remained good
  • The efficiency of traffic management service provision has improved, and the combined efficiency target of EUR 30 million for 2019–2022 will soon be met
  • Demand for traffic data produced by the company has grown by 32% (H1/2021: 163.83 TB vs H1/2022: 215.55 TB) 
  • The use of maritime data in particular has risen (+45% on the corresponding period of the previous year)
  • Almost 12 million interface calls were made per day during the review period (H1/2021 an average of 10 million)
  • There are already 150 organisations involved in the traffic data ecosystem.

The Fintraffic Group’s revenue for January–June totalled EUR 113.2 (94.6) million. This revenue mainly consists of road, rail and maritime traffic management services provided to the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency, and air navigation services that are provided to airlines and airports. The Group also provides services to other parties, such as Traficom, cities and ports, and international customers. 

Operating profit totalled EUR 5.1 (-3.5) million. The operating margin was 4.5% (-3.7%), which corresponds to the moderate operating profit target of 3–5 per cent that has been set for the company.  

The Group’s operating result improved on the corresponding period of the previous year due to a partial recovery in air traffic and a higher regulatory adjustment from the EU’s traffic risk-sharing mechanism than in 2021 (EUR 7.4 million vs EUR 4.3 million). However, as the effects of the Ukraine war are still weakening demand for air navigation services, adjustment measures in air navigation service provision have continued. The profitability of road, rail and maritime traffic management remained stable.

Fintraffic expects a year-on-year increase in the entire Group’s revenue and profitability during 2022. The company is continuing the systematic development of its operations, thanks to which Fintraffic will soon achieve the EUR 30 million efficiency target for 2019–2022 that was set for the company at its incorporation.

Key indicators for the Fintraffic Group 

 

H1/2022

H1/2021

H1/2020

H1/2019

2019

Revenue

113.2

94.6

92.9

110.6

221.9

EBITDA

25.5

14.6

11.8

30.6

52.1

Operating result

5.1

-3.5

-2.6

16.4

21.3

Operating margin, %

4.5%

-3.7%

-2.8%

14.9%

9.6%

Number of personnel

1,146

1,125

1,124

1,088

1,103


Key events of H1/2022 

Developing traffic markets and services for ecosystem operators

During the review period, Fintraffic and its partners continued to build a traffic data ecosystem to boost the Finnish traffic market. The capability of operators to produce, process and share data has a decisive impact on the kind of service solutions that can be created for travel and transport chains. The data ecosystem coordinated by Fintraffic contains 150 industry organisations and more than 250 people.

Fifteen members have signed the data ecosystem rulebook (Finnair, Fintraffic, HSL, ITS Finland Ry, LMJ, MaaS Global, Matkahuolto, Metsäteho, Valopilkku Taksi, VR, VTT and FLD Osuuskunta, GeoForum, Solita and Tietorahti). This open rulebook aims to provide a trust-building contractual framework that will facilitate data sharing in the traffic sector. 

Fintraffic provides traffic sector operators with data that has been produced, collected and processed in the Digitraffic service – for which there were about 2.1 billion interface calls during the first half of the year (just under 1.9 billion in H1/2021). The satisfaction level among data service users has been good. The use of maritime data in particular rose during the spring (+45% on the corresponding period of the previous year).

Traffic management services

Air navigation services

The effects of the dramatic reduction in air traffic caused by the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 and 2021 are starting to subside, and air traffic volumes in Europe have almost returned to pre-pandemic levels during 2022. However, the volume of air traffic in Finland is still about a third less than it was in 2019, which means that demand for air navigation services will also remain lower.

Finland’s international air connections weakened as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: the closure of Russian airspace means that there is less traffic between Asia and Europe, and it has mainly been diverted away from Finnish airspace. According to the statistics, the number of overflights recovered during the early year, but that was mainly due to aircraft flying over the Gulf of Finland on routes between Russia and Kaliningrad. Fintraffic Air Navigation Services provides air navigation services to these flights for safety reasons.

The coordination of unmanned air traffic and controlled flights has continued in a variety of projects. The goal is for Finland to have a low-altitude network based on satellite positioning, thereby enabling safe and efficient flight operations as the use of drones increases. Preparations for remote air traffic control have also continued.

Cash flow from air navigation services is currently negative, and the business would have been heavily loss-making without the regulatory adjustment. Although air navigation service regulations will allow an increase in air navigation fees over the coming years, the economic position of air navigation providers is expected to remain challenging. Fintraffic also laid off air navigation personnel during the first half of 2022 due to reduced demand.

Road traffic

Rising fuel prices have increased transport and logistics costs for both companies and households. Partly as a result of this, road traffic volumes experienced a downswing in the run up to summer in comparison to the corresponding period of the previous year.

Fintraffic’s road traffic management system and process development has focused on the productisation of a life-cycle model for its technical equipment and systems. Productisation has already achieved clear life-cycle benefits in road traffic management systems. A considerable reduction in the cost level and lead time for new projects and replacement investments has been achieved. Productisation has also generated benefits in system maintenance, and this has been reflected in improved reliability and better availability of spare parts.

At the end of June, operations at the Oulu road traffic management centre were merged with those of the Tampere centre. By consolidating these operations, Fintraffic will be able to provide a more comprehensive road traffic management service that revolves around safety and reliability. Consolidation also aims to achieve clear cost savings, and the synergy benefits arising from streamlining can be better targeted on maintenance and development.

Maritime traffic

Fintraffic Vessel Traffic Services continued to work on the NEMO project, which was launched in 2021. The project is creating a new national notification service for maritime notifications. Thanks to the service, notification data on port visits by merchant ships will now be sent to recipients through a single, centralised system. This data has a variety of uses in, for example, port operations, maritime rescue, and security monitoring. The project has progressed according to schedule and should be completed by 2025, when it will replace the existing Portnet service. The project’s sub-goals include creating a legal framework to support the provision of value-added services in collaboration with stakeholders, and building a data platform on which operators can create their own applications.

The Port Activity app provided by Vessel Traffic Services has been adopted by more ports in Finland and will soon be introduced abroad. Its basic concept is to improve the flow of information between stakeholders operating at ports, and to create a shared situational picture that enables land and sea logistics to work together seamlessly, thereby making port calls as efficient and economical as possible. The app is already being used by 19 ports in Finland, where it has created a functional ecosystem. It is also expanding to ports in neighbouring countries: a pilot is underway in Sweden and negotiations are currently being held with Baltic countries.

Rail traffic

Demand for passenger rail traffic has recovered after the pandemic. Conversely, goods transport volumes during April–June decreased by about 15 per cent on the corresponding period of the previous year, largely as a consequence of restrictions on Russian traffic. Operative service provision remained at a good level in spite of the coronavirus pandemic and extensive track work.

Projects to automate and digitalise rail traffic control have progressed as planned.

Upgrades are being made to remote control systems, and the Southeast Finland centralised traffic control system (KAKO) has progressed to the commissioning stage. Preparations are also being made for the first deployment of the Northern Finland centralised traffic control system (POKA). The upgrades will improve the safety and reliability of rail traffic management services and increase their automation level. Numerous other measures have also been taken to enhance safety and reliability.

Information for passengers at stations has been improved by renewing the passenger information system interface, so that passenger information can be made available to stakeholders as open data in the Digitraffic service. The idea is to make the information displayed at stations available on mobile devices as well, via Fintraffic’s consumer services.

The Digirail project is replacing the existing train control system with a new radio network-based system, and the project has now entered the development and verification phase. During the first half of the year, the project investigated the suitability of commercial radio networks for use in train communications and rail traffic management. The measurements indicate that both network coverage and quality are even better than expected.

Finland’s first commercial section of Digirail track will be Nokia–Pori/Rauma. The Digirail project has opened up dialogue with the market in order to compare product and service availability with the target state.

The new CEO of Fintraffic Railway Ltd, Pia Julin, started in her new position on 1 April 2022.

CEO Pertti Korhonen: 

A solid approach to routine traffic management forms the core of our strategy. We have continued to systematically develop our traffic management services in order to improve their quality, efficiency and reliability, which will in turn also lower the unit costs of our services.

High-quality traffic management services create excellent opportunities to promote data utilisation throughout the entire traffic sector. We are striving to ensure that the services provided by us and the entire sector will offer smoother and more workable travel and transport chains that meet the needs of both households and businesses.

Helping the traffic market to utilise data is currently more topical than ever before. As a result of the pandemic, public transport has lost customers and companies that provide market-based services in particular are still struggling in many places. It has, therefore, been great to see how actively traffic sector operators have been seeking ways to promote the best practices of the data economy in the traffic data ecosystem work coordinated by Fintraffic. One concrete example of this is the introduction of a rulebook for a fair data economy, which will facilitate data utilisation among operators and spur renewal within the sector.

As a result of the Government’s discussion on spending limits in the spring, the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency will be better placed to acquire traffic management services from Fintraffic over the next few years, and this will enable us to further improve the quality and efficiency of our service provision.

In March, we signed a lease for new premises in Helsinki. Fintraffic’s operations in Pasila will move into these new premises in 2024. Our new premises will enable cost-effective traffic management, and combining various functions under one roof will also generate synergy benefits.

We have continued to develop our organisational culture and strengthen our Group’s shared value base. We have drawn up a programme to help our personnel cope at work, and have acquired low-threshold support services for supervisors. Fintraffic has launched a hybrid work model in which office workers can flexibly work either at the office or remotely. We have been fostering our Group’s sense of community by organising a cross-company “student exchange” programme and a peer-mentoring programme for experts. Fintraffic has also introduced company bicycles as a fringe benefit for employees.

We are well on the way to becoming a world-class traffic company. I would like to thank all Fintraffic employees for their excellent work during the first half of the year, and our stakeholders for their seamless cooperation in building the safest, smoothest and most environmentally friendly traffic in the world.

Outlook for the future

Fintraffic is preparing for general price rises to be reflected in higher costs for energy and information system procurements. The company will continue to systematically develop its energy efficiency.

The war in Ukraine will also be reflected in the company’s operations towards the end of the year. In air navigation services, the second half of the year is expected to remain roughly the same as the first, and demand will continue to fall short of peak years. Both the revenue and profitability of other businesses are expected to remain stable.

As a whole, the Group’s profitability is forecast to be better than in the previous year. Fintraffic is also expected to reach the EUR 30 million efficiency target for 2019–2022 that was set for the company at its incorporation.

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