Spain is the European Union country with the longest coastline (8,000 km). Its geographical location, being closest to the axis of one of the world's major maritime routes, also strengthens its position as a strategic area in international shipping and a logistics platform in southern Europe.
The State-owned Spanish Port System includes 46 ports of general interest, managed by 28 Port Authorities, whose coordination and efficiency control corresponds to the government agency Puertos del Estado, a body answerable to the Ministry of Public Works that is responsible for implementing the government's port policy.
The importance of ports as links in the logistical and transport chains is supported by the following figures: they handle nearly 60% of exports and 85% of imports, which account for 53% of Spanish foreign trade with the European Union and 96% with third countries.
In addition, the State port system's activity contributes nearly 20% of the transport sector's GDP, which accounts for 1.1% of the Spanish GDP. Moreover, it generates direct employment of around 100,000 jobs and around 175,000 indirectly.