Spanish ports on the rise

Project cargo on the port of Bilbao, the fifth largest port on the Iberian peninsula.

Iberian ports in 2018 moved a combined total of 656 million tons of cargo. That is a new record, reports Atlantico Business Development.

Spanish ports accounted for the majority of the throughput, with a total of 563.4 million tons of cargo in 2018. That reflects an increase of 3.35% in comparison with 2017. Portuguese ports, on the other hand, lost market share with all major ports posting negative growth rates. Combined the Portuguese ports handled 92.6 million tonnes, a decrease of 3.5%.

Portugal‘s downward trend can be explained by a decrease in petroleum and coal imports due to favourable climatic circumstances, but also to several strikes that hit the ports of Lisbon and Setúbal and cost the ports a lot of cargo. Measured in the number of containers, throughput in Lisbon and Setúbal declined with 13.5% and 19.1% respectively.

Cargo segments that did well in Spain were general cargo (+5,5%) and containers. The latter reached a grand total of 17,21 million TEU in 2018, up 7,9% compared to 2017.

The ro-ro sector did well in all Iberian ports. In Spain, ro-ro shipping grew with 6.7% to 62 million tons, while ro-ro volumes in Portugal increased by 11.1%, reaching a relatively small 1.6 million tons.

Top 20

Last year’s results also lead to several changes in the ranking of the 20 largest Iberian ports. Algeciras is still firmly the leader of the pack and continues to grow. The port last year handled more than 107 million tons, making it the fourth largest port in Europe. Valencia stays in second place, but with moderate growth. The port of Barcelona is growing fastest in absolute terms and is rapidly closing in on Valencia. The Catalan port added some 6,4 million tons of cargo last year, which corresponds to a 10,6% growth rate. Sines remains in fourth place, even though it lost more than 4%, mainly liquid and other bulk cargo last year. Bilbao did well and moved up to the fifth position.

Notable is also the port of Castellón which saw its volume grow with 18%. The port propelled up two spots to crack into the top 10.

Author: Adnan Bajic

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