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Spain’s Top 5 Major Ports

icontainers_news_1a50488895.svgPorts & Routes
Updated on 29 Dec 2023
5 min read
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Spain has long been synonymous with efficient and expansive sea trade, an association which has historically brought prosperity to the European nation. With well maintained ports and consistent growth in technology, equipment and expertise the ports of Spain will continue to hold the key to trade, partnership and economic growth across the region.


Here are five top ports in the country that continue to make Spain a force to reckon within the region:


1. Port of Algeciras


Algeciras is one of the largest ports in Spain. The port sits along the 5,000km of coastline that is the country of Spain just like her sister ports. Even though this is the largest port in Spain, it’s the third largest on the Mediterranean. Worldwide, it’s the ninth largest.


The port is located in Andalucia, in the province of Cadiz, and is the epicenter for trade for tobacco, fishing, agriculture and oil. It sees estimated cargo traffic of up to 70 million tonnes annually. As the largest city in the Bay of Gilbratar, the city of Algeciras is supported greatly by the trade in the port. The three areas where the port of Algeciras competes the most with other big ports in Europe is in transshipment, cargo and container.


From the beginning of 2019 in January the port has seen a growth of 6.4% in general cargo as the port handled 92 million tons of goods. This number is up 3% from 2018. The port also features facilities for roll on and off services, fishing fleets, cruise ships and fuel handling.


2. Port of Valencia


The fifth busiest port in all of Europe is also the second largest in Spain: the port of Valencia. This port is impressive in size with an annual traffic of 57 million tones in cargo capacity. The container volume on an annual basis was 4.2 million TEUs in 2010 and this number has grown over the last decade.


Operated by the Port Authority of Valencia, it can accommodate a maximum vessel of 500 feet in length and it’s a port of call for ship repairs. The port offers two berthing faces and it provides has a VIP room for passengers, a duty-free shop, personal assistance for travelers who need it, public transportation links and a tourist information office among other facilities.


The port of Valencia distributes goods over 2000 km radius towards North Africa and the European Union as well.


3. Port of Barcelona


Barcelona is situated on the Northeastern coast of Spain and is located in the Catalan Province of the country. This port has been in existence for over 2000 years and it’s still going strong in terms of trade and port services. The port is an excellent partner for major European ports along the Mediterranean coast.


The Port of Barcelona experienced almost 3 million TEUs in 2017 and passenger traffic of about four million around the same time. After a two million Euros revamp project on the port the revenue has increased traffic flowing to the port’s cruise section in 2019 to even larger figures.


This port has better proximity to tourist areas compared to the rest and they take advantage of these tourist attractions to build their portfolio in the cruise market. On the trade aspect, the proximity of the port to France makes it a great gateway to international trade.


The Barcelona Port is divided into the commercial port, the old port and the logistics port. It also has a free trade area.


4. Port of Bilbao


Located in the Bilbao Abra Bay in Basque country this port is also called the exterior port. This port has been popular since the medieval times and is associated with the steel and iron trade of the time.


Bilbao evolved to become the gateway to the European Atlantic Ocean trade routes. It has become the premier port in terms of trade with the United Kingdom. As a big logistic player in the trade along the Atlantic corridor, the port has built its infrastructure in dry ports and other logistic zones.


The port of Bilbao has the smaller cruise ship footprint because they are still growing their presence in this aspect of port business. Despite that, they have seen 80,000 passengers in their port from 58 cruise ship vessels.


The port of Bilbao has been associated with growing the economy of the Biscay region. Locals rely on the port for jobs in transportation, tourism, engineering, ship repairs among other income generating activities.


5. Port of Castellon


Found in the city of Castellon de la Plana, this port is the youngest compared to the other major ports in Spain yet has registered impressive numbers. This is a logistical port which is growing at five times the average rate of other similar sized ports in Spain. It’s the leading provider of logistic services for the local economy of Castellon, with a throughput of** more than 20 million tones in cargo capacity** in 2018.


Castellon is a well-known region for its production of ceramic from the ceramic tile factory in the city. The port of Castellon handles the moving of 95% of the ceramic exports from Spain to the rest of the world. The region is also home to the only oil refinery in the wider Valencia region, so it also handles and moves massive quantities of oil products refined and unrefined as well as chemicals.


Whether moving personal belongings or moving cargo the right service exists in the port of Castellon.

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