Spanish ferry operator, Baleària reported an EBITDA of €103 mill for 2021.
This has enabled the company to offset the €15 mill loss reported in 2020, repay debt, consolidate its solvency and continue with the scheduled investment plan, it claimed.
“Despite this sector having been hit by the pandemic and mobility restrictions, we have handled this crisis by being an increasingly eco-efficient shipping company, committed to the region and with a vocation for public service,” said Adolfo Utor, Baleària Chairman (pictured).
Baleària’s ferries transported 2.91 mill people and 765,000 vehicles last year, 38% and 29% higher respectively than in 2020, but well below pre-pandemic traffic levels (-34% and -28%, respectively).
It should be noted that 95% of passengers travelled on domestic routes (Balearic Islands, Ceuta, Melilla and the Canary Islands). International routes (North Africa and Bahamas) were strongly affected by mobility restrictions, especially due to the cancellation for the second consecutive year of Operation Crossing the Strait, and recorded an 85% loss in passenger numbers compared to 2019, the company said.
In 2021, freight transport grew by 15%. Of the 6,584,000 linear metres transported, 24% were on international routes, which recorded the strongest growth (+17% compared to the previous year and +48% compared to 2019). This growth was seen on the routes serving Morocco, on which only freight transport was permitted.
At the results presentation, Baleària’s Chairman emphasised the company’s commitment to cleaner energies: “Our goal is zero emissions in 2050. We are involved in projects linked to green hydrogen and renewable bio-methane, and we are committed to gas as a transition fuel.”
In the first quarter of this year, the shipping company operated nine ships with dual-fuel engines in which it had invested €380 mill and which are compatible with the use of the CO2-neutral energies.
Last year, the company’s ships use of natural gas grew by 36% and allowed Baleària to stop emitting 56,000 tonnes of C02, despite the fact that in October it was forced to restrict its use to port-based manoeuvres and while berthed.
“This is a temporary measure that we adopted out of responsibility and to preserve the viability of the company in the face of the escalating price of this fuel,” explained Utor, adding that the company was still determined to invest in projects linked to cleaner energies.
The commissioning, in May 2021, of the fast ferry, ‘Eleanor Roosevelt’, the first in the world with dual gas engines, combines this commitment to sustainability with another of the shipping company’s strategic lines – digitalisation.
“We continue to progress towards our goal of turning Baleària into a company that uses big data to guide decisions in real time with maximum efficiency,” Utor explained, adding that the company already monitors its fleet through its Control Tower system.
In addition, seven of the ships have a sensor system fitted that collects navigation and other data in real time.
“As a responsible company, we have a driving economic, social and cultural effect on the regions,” He said. In terms of the shipping company’s social commitment, in 2021 the Baleària Foundation collaborated in more than 280 activities and almost 80% of the shipping company’s suppliers were local.