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Skip Navigation · Home · 563.4 million tons, a new port traffic record
563.4 million tons, a new port traffic record

The average growth of general interest ports was 3.3%

563.4 million tons, a new port traffic record


  • General goods, which represents 48.6% of the total traffic, grew by almost 6%.
  • Spain surpasses 10 million cruise passengers.



02-13-2019 (Spanish Ministry of Public Works and Transport). The provisional traffic data for goods moved between the 46 ports of general interest in Spain in 2018 gives a result of 563,475,196 tons, a record high that constitutes a 3.3% growth with respect to the previous record established in 2017, when 545 million tons were moved.


All port traffic, by different types of traffic, increased in relation to the previous year's data. Solid bulk, which at 102.3 million tons makes up 18.6% of the total goods moved, increased by 0.92%; liquid bulk, at 180.9 million tons and 32.8% of the share of goods, grew by 1.5%; and finally, general goods, at 267.5 million tons and making up 48.6% of the total goods moved, experienced a growth of 5.95%, making it the type of port traffic with the most outstanding growth.


Goods in transit, i.e. those which use Spanish ports as links of a chain that will eventually reach another country or continent, have an ever greater presence. This makes Spain the main logistical platform of southern Europe and the preferred link for goods traffic between Europe and Asia/America/Africa. It has reached the point that one of every four tons that pass through our ports, i.e. 148 million tons in 2018, 7.85% more than the previous year, were in transit.


Roll-on/roll-off traffic, i.e. goods moved in the ports on industrial vehicles that use maritime transport as an alternative or a complement to land transport, also continues to increase. In 2018, nearly 62 million tons were moved, 6.7% more than the previous year.


Container traffic, the most common form of transporting general goods, represented 71.5% of the total, i.e. 191.3 million tons, transported 17.2 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units), constituting an increase of around 8%.


Within passenger traffic, which totaled over 36 million people, the regular lines moved 25.87 million people, a growth of 4.2%; while cruise ships grew by 9.6% with 10.2 million passengers.




Large peninsular ports continue to make a notable difference in total traffic with respect to the group of Port Authorities. In fact, the seven main roadsteads (Bay of Gibraltar, Valencia, Barcelona, Cartagena, Bilbao, Tarragona and Huelva), with over 386 million tons, account for 68.5% of the national total, with the Bay of Gibraltar (107 million tons) as the undisputed leader, followed at a distance by Valencia (76.6 million), Barcelona (67.8 million), Cartagena (33.7 million), Bilbao (35.7 million), Huelva (33.1 million) and Tarragona (32 million).


Nevertheless, ports such as Motril (+20.8%), Castellón (+18%) and Malaga (+13.6%) experienced growth far above the national average.


The Canary Islands and Balearic Islands experienced an uneven progression. The ports of the Balearic Islands grew by 5%, exceeding 16.4 million tons, while those of the Canary Islands, with 40 million tons, declined by 1.7%, weighed down by the decrease in liquid bulk.


For more information on port traffic:


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