Photo: Jorge Franganillo / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Cargo traffic at Spanish ports up 3.5% year-on-year between January and May

The Spanish Ministry of Transport has reported a notable 3.5% increase in cargo traffic through the nation's ports between January and May 2024.

You can read this article in 3 minutes

The data from the Spanish Ministry of Transport shows that the total cargo handled during the first five months of the year amounted to 236.33 million tonnes.

A substantial part of this growth is attributed to a 12% increase in TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units), reaching 7.51 million tonnes. This increase is particularly pronounced in transit TEUs, which saw a notable 19% rise. Ports such as Barcelona, Bilbao, and Las Palmas have also reported significant increases of 47.3%, 39.4%, and 26.6%, respectively.

Moreover, general cargo maintained a strong upward trend, with an 8% increase in May compared to the same period in 2023, totaling 117.8 million tonnes. Containerised cargo led this growth with a 10.2% increase, while conventional cargo also saw a gain of 3.3%.

While most cargo categories experienced growth, solid bulk cargo saw a decline of 9.4%, totaling 35 million tonnes. This decrease is largely due to a 53.8% drop in coal and a reduction in steel products. In contrast, liquid bulk cargo rose by 3.6%, exceeding 77 million tonnes, driven primarily by a 98.1% increase in chemical products. On the other hand, ro-ro (roll-on/roll-off) traffic grew by 1.9%, reaching 31.13 million tonnes.

Increase in vessel traffic

The number of merchant vessels calling at Spanish ports increased by 3.1%, with a total of 63,992 units, and the gross tonnage grew by 4.5%.

Strategic response to geopolitical challenges

The Spanish Ministry of Transport notes that current geopolitical tensions in the Red Sea have necessitated the rerouting of traditional maritime paths, leading to increased cargo traffic through Spanish ports.

The Ministry adds that thanks to robust infrastructure and efficient services, the ports have demonstrated their preparedness and capability to handle these surges, which in turn stresses the strategic importance of Spain’s port network in global trade.