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Balearia eyes US-Cuba fast ferry

Balearia, which operates the connecting Fort Lauderdale and Freeport on Grand Bahama, has requested a license to operate between the US and Cuba. The shipping company is awaiting an official response from the US government, and the subsequent authorization from the Cuban government. 

Source:
Date:
Updated:
Balearia Group
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Tuesday, May 12, 2015

FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida, May 11, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Balearia has requested a license to operate between the U.S. and Cuba from the U.S. Treasury Department, after both countries’ announcement of the reestablishment of diplomatic relations. The shipping company is awaiting an official response from the U.S. government, and the subsequent authorization from the Cuban government.


The Spanish maritime transport company has operated in the Caribbean region since late 2011 under the brand Bahamas Express, connecting Fort Lauderdale (north of Miami) and Freeport (in Grand Bahama Island). The route is now run by the ferry Bahama Mama (formerly called Alhucemas). Previously, the fast ferry Pinar del Rio that still remains in the area operated it. This high-speed vessel “is ideal for the Cubaroutes,” says Adolfo Utor, President of Balearia, who adds that the ship has all the certificates required by the Coast Guard to start operating.

For its connections with Cuba, Balearia would operate two lines between Florida and the Havana Port: one with a high speed vessel from Key West, and a second with a ferry from Port Everglades.

The shipping company transported more than 130,000 passengers, between the U.S. and The Bahamas in 2014, which represented an 18% growth compared to the previous year. There’s a new route planned for this year from Fort Lauderdale to Nassau (in the island of New Providence). “Our service to The Bahamas is now established and therefore we are ready to open new connections and markets in the area that will allow us to grow,” said Utor.

Positioned for internationalization
One of the strategic pillars of the Balearia Group is internationalization as the basis for business strength and stability. Presently, billings for international traffic (besides the Caribbean, it has a route to Tangier from Algeciras) equals 15% of the group’s total, and the target is to reach 50% in five years. To accomplish this, the shipping company is considering opening new lines in other Caribbean areas, like Puerto Rico orDominican Republic.

About Balearia Group
Balearia is a maritime company leader in passenger and cargo transportation with Baleares, one of the major operators in the Strait of Gibraltar, which also offers services in the Caribbean. The company is a model of service, innovation and responsibility in the Spanish maritime transportation sector. It has a fleet of 23 ships and provides work to approximately 1,000 employees.

Indications are that the Bahamian economy’s positive, but mild growth momentum was sustained during March, according to the latest Central Bank of The Bahamas Monthly Economic and Financial Developments report. Download a PDF of the report here.

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