Baleària's strength and adaptability have tempered the impact of COVID-19 on its results
- The shipping company has maintained a positive EBITDA of more than 60 million euros, despite a drop in turnover (-24%) and losses of more than 15 million euros.
- The mobility restrictions have caused significant declines in all types of traffic: -52% in the case of passengers and -6% in the transport of goods.
- The shipping company has prioritised health safety and has sustained its projects and investments linked to its strategic areas of sustainability and digitisation.
- The company has maintained its commitment to the different regions, guaranteeing the transport of essential goods and the mobility of people.
Baleària has managed to temper the impact of the health crisis on its 2020 results thanks to efficient and dynamic management, adapted to the continuous fluctuations in the market, and the diversification of its business areas (passenger and cargo) and routes, which were affected in different ways. "The mobility restrictions caused significant drops in all traffic types and resulted in a negative outcome, which means our solvency has been reduced and our debt has risen, but we have resisted thanks to the strength of our assets and finances, the consequence of many years of hard work", said Adolfo Utor, Baleària's chairman.
From the outset, the shipping company prioritised safe transport, and in a context of economic uncertainty, despite having to adjust its operating costs, it sustained its projects and investments linked to the strategic areas of sustainability and digitisation, including the launch of the world's first fast ferry with gas-powered engines and being awarded the tender for a new sustainable smart terminal in Valencia. "This year we have shown financial strength, and a tremendous ability to react, be flexible and adapt", explained Utor, who also highlighted "the enormous effort made by all the teams." Finally, he indicated that the shipping company is prepared "To face recovery with renewed energy, optimism, cohesion and motivation".
The passenger and cargo areas had a similar proportion of turnover, but with very different trends; mobility limitations and border closures reduced passengers by half (2,150,000), while freight transport remained more stable throughout the year, decreasing just -6% (5,743,000 lm). Throughout the year, including at the most challenging times, Baleària took on the responsibility of fulfilling its social commitment and was involved in maintaining services throughout the different regions.
National routes accounted for almost 94% of passengers, with variations in behaviour depending on the area: in Ceuta and Melilla traffic plummeted by -60%, in the Balearic Islands the fall was -30%, but in contrast, the Canary Islands routes recorded growth (+20%). It should be noted that Baleària was continually adapting schedules and routes in a flexible and reactive manner, according to demand.
International routes were affected by border closures and the cancellation of Operation Strait of Gibraltar, with a drop in passenger numbers of -85%. Despite the situation, Baleària's adaptability made it possible to respond to the demand for repatriating European citizens by opening a new international route between Morocco and France, in addition to almost 50 special operations coordinated with different governments.
Transport of goods
Baleària's commitment to guaranteeing the supply of essential goods to non-peninsular regions throughout the year resulted in a more stable performance in this business area, with a fall of just -6% in the number of linear metres. The Canary Islands and international routes saw growth of more than 20%.
The effects of the pandemic on traffic resulted in a -24% drop in the shipping company's turnover and losses of more than 15 million euros. However, Baleària's financial management was underpinned by an EBITDA of more than 60 million euros. In this challenging economic context, the company continued to focus on competitiveness and leadership, maintaining investments in its strategic areas (innovation and sustainability), and adding a new priority: guaranteeing the safety of its ships.
The numerous protocols implemented by Baleària (including cleaning and disinfection, reduced vessel capacity, and temperature readings prior to boarding) made it the first shipping company in the world to be awarded the COVID-19 Global Safe Site (Excellence) certificate.
Baleària continued towards the green horizon that has made it a benchmark in terms of sustainability in shipping, especially in the use of natural gas, and set a milestone in maritime transport by launching the Eleanor Roosevelt, the world's first fast ferry with gas-powered engines, which will shortly come into operation. In addition, in 2020, the company was already operating six ships powered by this cleaner energy, enabling it to avoid emitting 37,000 tonnes of CO2. A pioneer in gas-powered maritime transport, the company was responsible for 96% of the LNG supplied to ships in Spain, most of them using an innovative high-efficiency system.
In 2020, Baleària was awarded another project that will be yet another landmark in sustainability: the new passenger terminal at the port of Valencia, in which it will invest 37 million euros. The aim is for the terminal to have the lowest possible environmental impact, with 100% of the electricity used in the facilities being self-generated from either renewable sources or a biogas plant that will generate biomethane by recycling 100% of the organic waste.
Both the Eleanor Roosevelt fast ferry and the Valencia terminal combine sustainability with innovation. And in 2020, Baleària also continued its strategic commitment to digital transformation, with cross-cutting projects. It installed sensors on two ships to monitor emissions in real time (the first step towards the future control tower), and rolled out a more technologically advanced management system on the Melilla routes, which will be expanded to the rest of the company. In the cargo area, further progress was made in terms of digitisation, which has enabled better logistics planning for cargo customers and more agile port operations.
With regard to passenger services, in addition to continuing to focus on smart ships that provide a complete technological experience, the need for social distancing drove progress in projects for digitising access to ships and accommodation.A multi-channel tool was implemented to offer direct and efficient customer service, which enabled 94% of queries to be resolved on the first contact.
Finally, it should be noted that, despite the unprecedented situation in 2020, passengers continued to have confidence in Baleària, scoring the company more positively for all the key indicators in the satisfaction surveys, and allowing the NPS index, measuring loyalty and satisfaction, to increase by 14 points (44.3).
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