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Skip Navigation · Home · Port traffic dropped by 25% in May
Port traffic dropped by 25% in May

The aggregate fall between January and May registers -10.2%

Port traffic dropped by 25% in May


  • Forecasts anticipate a fall of between 10 and 16% at year end.
  • Product supply, both to the population and the industrial sector, has been guaranteed at all times.
  • Cruise passenger traffic has crashed due to no new travelers boarding over the last few months.



07-02-2020 (Ministry of Transportation, Mobility and Urban Agenda). The COVID-19 crisis has fully impacted on port traffic in the 46 general interest ports of the State. Thus, during the month of May 38.3 million tons were handled, representing a 25.1% fall with respect to the same month the previous year. The aggregate for the year of 237.4 million tons, between January and May, represented a 10.2 % fall with respect to the same period the previous year. According to Francisco Toledo, president of Puertos del Estado, these figures confirm our forecasts, indicating a fall in maritime traffic and global trade, which will trigger generalized drops in port traffic of between 10% and 16% by the end of 2020.


Without prejudice to the foregoing, port traffic has still shown vital signs over these last few months, enabling a continued product supply, both to the population and the industrial sector, without causing any shortage.


By cargo presentation, solid bulk (particularly coal), which had already been decreasing since March 2019 due to the change in energy model launched by the EU to reduce the impact of greenhouse gas in climate change, has fallen by 30.3% during the month of May, barely exceeding 5 million tons. The aggregate figure for the first five months of 2020 was 31 million tons, representing a 19.5% drop. In this heading, coal and petroleum coke have fallen from 10 to 5.8 million tons.


Liquid bulk, generating almost 13 million tons moved in the month of May, has fallen 24.2%. The aggregate for the year, with 73.3 million tons, has registered a 4.9% decrease. In this group, the fall in crude oil traffic (-13.2%) has been set off with an increase in natural gas (+27.9%) and chemical products (+7.8%).


With respect to general cargo, which is still the largest group with a manipulated total of 19.4 million tons, the fall was 23.7%, with a particular impact on the traffic of new cars (from 317,000 units moved in May 2019 to 83,600 in May 2020). The aggregate for the year included a total moved of 104.4 million tons, representing a 10.2% setback.


Cargo in transit, en route to third countries, which still represents almost 1/3 of the total handled at ports, has dropped 20.2%, down to 11.4 million tons. In the aggregate for the year, the fall is 5.2% with a total moved of 61.7 tons.


A greater impact is evidenced in ro-ro traffic, industrial vehicles loaded with cargo that disembark to cover certain routes or trips between mainland Spain and the islands, and amongst the islands, due to mobility restrictions ordered during the state of alarm. This traffic has mobilized 4.2 million tons, 32.9% less than in May last year. The aggregate for the year is 23 million tons, representing a 17% fall.


Finally, passenger traffic has witnessed a fall in the number of persons to 216,851, barely 10% of the more than 2.8 million accounted for in May 2019. This fall has been more obvious in cruise ship traffic, which has been practically nil over the last few months. In yearly aggregate terms, the fall is 55.9%, down to 5.3 million, over the 12 million registered in the first five months last year.


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