- For the first time, the EBITDA has topped 100 million euros, thanks to cost containment measures, more efficient management and the good performance of fuel prices in the first three quarters of the year.
- The company achieved a social cash flow of 576 million euros, 9% more than the previous year.
- Passenger traffic grew by 38% compared to 2020, mainly on domestic routes, but is still below pre-pandemic figures due to the border closures in North Africa.
- Freight transport, essential for non-mainland regions, maintains sustained growth, above pre-pandemic figures, with a greater increase in international routes.
- The commitment to being a responsible company, sustainability and digitalisation are the main lines of action.
- The presentation ceremony in Palma was attended by the city’s mayor, José Hila, the president of the Balearic Government, Francina Armengol, and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Reyes Maroto.
Baleària’s 2021 results show that the shipping company has been able to overcome a complex situation marked by the pandemic and growing competition. The 103 million euros of EBITDA have enabled the company to offset the 15 million euros of losses from the previous year, repay debt, consolidate its solvency and continue with the scheduled investment plan. Baleària’s leadership in maritime transport and its good results have been achieved thanks to efficient team management, high levels of productivity, and the performance of fuel prices in the first three quarters of 2020. “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”, declared Adolfo Utor, Chairman of Baleària.
Passenger and vehicle traffic
In terms of passenger traffic, 2,911,000 people and 765,000 vehicles travelled with Baleària in 2021, 38% and 29% more 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.
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), especially the lines serving Morocco, on which only freight transport was permitted.
Baleària’s chairman also 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 biomethane, and we are committed to gas as a transition fuel.” In the first quarter of 2022, the shipping company already operates nine ships with dual engines in which it has invested 380 million euros, and which are compatible with the use of these CO2-neutral energies. In 2021, the 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 port. “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, who highlighted “the company’s determination to invest in projects linked to cleaner energies.”
The commissioning, in May 2021, of the innovative fast ferry, the 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, pointing out that the company already monitors its fleet through the Control Tower. In addition, seven of these ships have a sensor system that collects navigation and usage data in real time. Utor also pointed out the improvements to the customer experience thanks to digitalisation, including virtual assistants and on-board entertainment.
Social Cash Flow
“As a responsible company, we have a driving economic, social and cultural effect on the regions”, noted Utor, who pointed out that Baleària’s social cash flow in 2021 grew by 9%, reaching 576 million euros. 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 are local. Utor stressed that for the last 12 years Baleària has been “an exercise in transparency and rigour”, presenting its sustainability report to its stakeholders in accordance with the criteria of the United Nations Global Compact. “This year we are delighted to present it in the Balearic Islands, where our roots are. We are committed to these islands, as we are to all the regions in which we operate, and we are certain that to maintain our robust leadership position we must continue to be a local shipping company with soul and values.”
The event, held at the Es Baluard museum, was attended by more than 200 people linked to the company’s stakeholders. The President of the Balearic Government, Francina Armengol, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Reyes Maroto, and the Mayor of Palma, José Hila, took part in the presentation, which was attended by a large number of authorities from the islands, as well as the presidents and representatives of the ports of Huelva, Motril, Almería and Melilla, among others.
The presentation ended with a performance by Maria del Mar Bonet and Borja Penalba, two of the leading exponents of Balearic and Valencian music. This was followed by a cocktail party with a tasting menu based on local products, prepared by chefs from the four Balearic Islands (Sara Valls, Pere Tur, Emilio Samblas, Joan Marc Garcies and Ariadna Salvador) with music by the Ibizan group Joven Dolores.