Photo: Adolfo Utor, Baleària’s president. Image Courtesy: Baleària

Baleària Carried Over 4 Mn Passengers in 2018

Spanish ferry company Baleària carried a total of 4.320,000 passengers in 2018, up by 11 percent year-over-year (YOY).

As informed, the number of passengers exceeded a million on international routes in 2018.

What is more, the company’s vessels transported 1.209,000 vehicles on its 23 routes, a YOY increase of 17%.

“The foreign market now accounts for 22% of the Baleària group’s overall figures,” Adolfo Utor, Baleària’s president, explained.

On these lines, passenger growth was 26% while sales exceeded EUR 84 million (USD 94.4 million), a rise of 16%. Half of the group’s passengers travelled the lines connecting the Iberian Peninsula to northern Africa; thus, northern Africa is the area where the Valencia-based shipping company is growing the most.

With respect to cargo, which accounts for half of Baleària’s business, Utor indicated that growth was 3.5%, with 5.800,000 linear meters of goods carried.

“Cargo is currently concentrated in the Balearic Islands with 79% of the total but it’s a very mature market meaning growth comes from the rest of the routes,” Utor said. He also underlined the cargo port’s operational digitization.

“We’re at a time of expansion as we also consolidate new routes on the Alboran Sea and around the Canary Islands,” Utor further said, referring to the lines created in 2018 through strategic alliances with the shipping companies Marítima Peregar and Fred Olsen. Express.

The high cost of the implementation of the new routes, along with the increased price of fuel in 2018 have caused Baleària’s profitability and, thus, the final results to drop, according to Utor.

The shipping company saw a turnover of EUR 381.4 million in 2018, an increase of 5%, On the other hand, EBITDA was 14% lower and amounted to EUR 70.3 million last year. The net profit was 37% lower and stood at EUR 27.4 million in 2018.

Utor predicted this trend would remain steady this financial year while new traffic routes are consolidated and the planned ship engine refittings are completed as they are currently inactive.

The company wants to achieve a sustainable economic growth, which would be compatible with environmental preservation, social inclusion and equal opportunities.

As an example, Utor mentioned the use of liquified natural gas which in 2018 was “Baleària’s contribution to the fight against climate change”.

“Natural gas is a cleaner energy which goes hand in hand at Baleària with digitization. They are two strategic lines that perfectly combine in our smart ships,” Utor pointed out.

By the end of 2020, Baleària will have nine gas-propelled smart ships, three of which will be newly-built and six of which are already in its fleet, but will have new engines — partially funded by the EU.

With regards to the environment, the shipping company’s president noted that “Baleària’s sailing in 2018 was more eco-efficient” as the miles sailed by the fleet increased by 13% yet its CO2 emissions only rose by 6.5%. Following the addition of the four eco fast ferries added to the Eivissa-Formentera route in 2018, the ratio of CO2 emissions per mile dropped by 36% in comparison to the fleet operating previously.