Baleària reports record year

2024-03-15T18:03:57+00:00 March 15th, 2024|Finance|

Spanish ferry operator Baleària carried more than 5 mill passengers last year.

The shipping company reached a record turnover of €652 mill, a rise of 15% and recorded EBITDA of €117 mill, a fall of 16%, in its 25th anniversary year.

Baleària also invested €113 mill, mainly in its sustainable fleet and digitalisation.

Furthermore, the company’s environmental commitment was expanded with the addition of two electrically powered vessels and the construction of the second gas-powered fast ferry.

The ratio of tonnes of CO2 emissions per mile decreased by 8% thanks to increased use of natural gas and the other eco-efficient measures adopted.

Overall, Baleària transported a record 5.2 mill pax, 1.4 mill vehicles and 7.4 mill linear metres of cargo in fiscal year 2023.

“These figures show the solvency and strength of Baleària’s business model,” said Chairman, Adolfo Utor (pictured).

The result for the year was €40 mill “a very positive figure despite the extraordinary costs caused by the expansion of the company with the opening of new routes and the sharp increase in financial expenses,” explained Utor.

With a fleet of 30 vessels owned, in addition to a dozen chartered, Baleària operated 25 routes in six different countries last year.

By business areas, some 59% of the turnover related to the passenger sector and 36% to freight transport. In addition, 75% of turnover came from domestic routes, and the remaining 25% from international connections.

Baleària saw growth in all markets and “in the Balearic Islands it remained the leader in both the passenger and cargo areas,” said Utor.

Utor further explained that Baleària main milestones in 2023, in addition to the celebration of the 25th anniversary, were directly related to its commitment to sustainabilty, the incorporation of two ferries with electric propulsion and the launch of the ‘Margarita Salas’ fast ferry.

“This commitment to eco-efficiency in the maritime sector has allowed us to be the first Spanish shipping company to obtain the prestigious Green Marine Europe label in 2023,” Utor said.

In addition, he said that in 2023, €113 mill was invested in the construction, acquisition and improvements in the sustainability of the fleet and the digitalisation of key processes, 85% more than in the previous year.

The shipping company is involved in nine projects with the help of European funds that promote the transition to clean energy and improve digital connectivity.

Baleària has 10 ships, plus another that will start operating this June, with dual engines burning different fuels, such as natural gas or CO2-neutral renewable sources in the future.

“Once we have overcome the adverse context of previous years, we have increased the use of natural gas,” explained Utor, “and this has allowed us to stop emitting 28,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.”

Utor also stressed Baleària’s commitment “to reducing carbon emissions to zero by 2050” despite “the complexity of this challenge”.

He also warned that the new European regulations to control emissions and ensure an effective reduction of the carbon footprint in maritime transport, will have a high economic impact in 2024.

In terms of job creation, in 2023 the shipping company employed 2,500 for the first time in the high season (10% more than in the previous fiscal year), from 62 nationalities.

Around 94% of the company’s direct employees in Spain are permanent, which shows a high level of job stability. In addition, Utor highlighted that the number of women in the workforce grew by 27% and that Baleària also has 80 women in leadership positions.

“We have highly trained and motivated teams, which are the engine of our company. We are committed to attracting and retaining the best talent by offering them solid professional opportunities,” he said.

Finally, with regard to involvement with society, Utor highlighted that the shipping company’s social cash flow reached €730 mill.

In addition, he said that 77% of the company’s suppliers were local and that the Baleària Foundation had undertaken 280 actions in the social, environmental, sporting and cultural fields.