Baleària's turnover and EBITDA grow by 19% in 2019
Baleària has announced that its shareholders are foregoing any dividend payment in order to strengthen the company's position in response to COVID-19. Last year the shipping line registered turnover 19% higher than the previous year, amounting to 452 million euros according to the figures recorded in the tenth Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability Report for 2019 released by the company today, while its operations remain aligned with the sustainable development commitment established in the UN 2030 Agenda.
The volume of cargo covered a length of 6,111,000 metres, 5% more than the previous financial year, equivalent to 466,000 trucks. We would emphasise that 75% of cargo corresponds to the Balearic routes, where maritime transport is vital to supply essential products, a logistical aspect which is proving vital during the state of emergency caused by the coronavirus health crisis. Similar situations apply to Ceuta, Melilla and the Canaries.
Passengers accounted for 55% of the company's overall turnover in 2019, and grew by 3%. In 2019 this meant that 4,480,000 passengers embarked on one of the 30 vessels run by the Dénia-based shipping company, which carried 1,064,000 vehicles. The greatest increase in passenger numbers was seen on the routes between the Spanish mainland and the Balearic Islands, while there was in turn a significant reduction in traffic during the peak season on the Strait of Gibraltar crossing.
Meanwhile, EBITDA registered an increase of 84 million euros, 19% higher in relative terms, which the company sees as an indicator of the strength of its business model. This figure meant that the net profit rose by 5%, to 29 million euros. Both these numbers serve to highlight the company's solvency in overcoming this crisis.
Eco-efficient growth, based on respect for the planet and digital transformation, provide the backbone of the Baleària business model. In this regard, the company added two new smart ships and replaced the engines on another two, making Baleària the first company to sail the Mediterranean, Canary Islands and Strait of Gibraltar using natural gas. The plans are for the LNG fleet to comprise nine ships by 2021. There are also plans to include other CO2-neutral alternatives to fossil fuels in the future, such as renewable gas and hydrogen.
The use of cleaner forms of energy goes hand-in-hand with a short- and medium-term digital transformation and innovation strategy so as to continue making Baleària more competitive. Last year this digitalisation process saw six vessels converted into smart ships (by next year there will be a total of 11 such vessels), with progress made in the digital transformation of embarkation and disembarkation processes and the travel experience in the case of passengers, as well as cargo operations in port on the freight side, to achieve more streamlined and convenient logistics.
Revolution 4.0: big data management
The move to digital extends to every area of management with the aim of turning the shipping line into a data-driven company, using big data to reach swift and effective decisions. In 2019, then, a fleet control tower project began, serving as a tool to provide real-time data about safety, preventive maintenance, commercial efficiency and sustainability. The first phase of this initiative focuses on monitoring emissions of pollutant gases through the European Green and Connected Ports project, with Baleària installing sensors and measurement equipment on 5 ships by 2022.
Once again another of the outstanding indicators for last year was the significant progress in terms of social cash flow, the resources generated by the shipping line and distributed among its stakeholders. The total for 2019 was 623 million euros, with the company continuing to create jobs during the year. Staff numbers rose by 7%, to a total of 1,800 employees. 30% of the workforce were born in another country, and 56% of all those working at Baleària have a stable job. In total, 30% more hours of training were provided for employees.
The Baleària Foundation undertook over 500 initiatives in partnership with 280 organisations. A clear sign of the shipping line's symbiosis with the regions where it operates. This social and environmental commitment is likewise underpinned by the fact that 81% of the company's more than 7,000 suppliers are local.
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