Grandi Navi Veloci Ferry. | MSC

The Italian shipping company, Grandi Navi Veloci, or GNV, is launching state-of-the-art ships on routes between the Balearic Islands and the mainland from July, in direct competition with Baleària and Armas-Trasmediterránea.

GNV will be based in Palma and schedule daily trips from Barcelona and Valencia to Palma and Ibiza.

“The project is already very advanced and the goal is to start operations in the first week of July,” explains GNV Director, Gianluca Seraniega. “It’s the right time to become the third operator on the maritime routes between the Balearics and the mainland.”

The arrival of GNV is a blow for Trasmediterránea and Baleària, which have operated these routes for more than ten years, but for the time being at least, GNV has no plans to operate an inter-island service.

"We are going to focus on passenger and freight operations to an from the mainland in the first phase," says Seraniega.

GNV is part of the cruise ship company, MSC, which is unable to schedule cruises with Spain because of the coronavirus restrictions, so it’s diversifying, by using its shipping company to enter the Balearic market.

"The entry of a third operator is very positive, because it generates competition, which will benefit carriers, companies and consumers,” said Ezequiel Horrach, President of the Association of Freight Carriers of the Balearics-CAEB.

Chamber of Commerce

“This is a large company with financial muscle and it’s very professional,” said Antoni Mercant, President of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry & Navigation in Mallorca. “Both Trasmediterránea and Baleària have worked with them, because they have chartered ships during the busiest times in the Balearics.

GNV is based in Valencia and currently operates a route between Genoa and Barcelona.

"This is not the most opportune time for Spanish shipping companies, because the competition will do a lot of damage in terms of business and activity,” said Mercant, who questioned the legality of GNV’s arrival in the Balearics.

"Maritime traffic is liberalised in Europe and if there are berths and a commitment to remain active for two years on routes with the Balearic routes, you can be a new shipping operator."

The Balearic Port Authority, or APB and Puertos del Estado are aware of the Italian shipping company’s intentions and are offering all the necessary facilities required.