Cruise & Ferry Review - Spring/Summer 2022

Founded in 1998, Déniaheadquartered Baleària rose from the ashes of Flebasa Lines. Initially concentrating on the mainland Spain to Balearics and Ibiza to Formentera trades, the brand rapidly grew its fleet and network which today covers all main Spanish corridors, including the Gibraltar Strait and Alborán Sea, and a route between Huelva and the Canary Islands, which is operated in partnership with Fred. Olsen Express. In recent years, the company has also spread its wings internationally and besides its regular services from the peninsula to Morocco and the North African Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, it also operates a weekly crossing between Valencia, Spain, and Mostaganem, Algeria, as well as a seasonal service between Sète, France, and Nador, Morocco. In addition, Baleària Caribbean runs a single-ship service between Port Everglades, Florida, and The Bahamas. Adolfo Utor, who has been the company’s president and majority shareholder since its inception, has been instrumental in Baleària’s expansion and success. He gained full control in October 2021 when Baleària’s partner, the Matutes family, sold its 42.5 per cent stake in the business. “We joined forces with the Matutes family in 2005 when its Umafisa Pitra ferry operations were merged with ours,” says Utor. “For the past 17 years, we have had a fluid, enriching and fruitful relationship with the Matutes family. Their participation has contributed to the strengthening of a leading shipping company in Spain and the creation of an international benchmark in sustainability and digitisation.” When the Matutes family sold its shares, Baleària initially considered incorporating a new industrial or financial partner. “However, I finally opted to concentrate the capital as I was EXECUT I VE INTERV IEW Leading the way in Spain Philippe Holthof asks Baleària president Adolfo Utor about the state of the Spanish ferry market and the operator’s transition towards net-zero carbon emissions The Astilleros Armón-built Eleanor Roosevelt has met expectations and Baleària is contemplating a repeat order with improvements in the general layout of the passenger areas, the vehicle decks and the engine output 8 8