Container traffic passing through Barcelona Port increases by 23% between January and March

East Asian and South Mediterranean countries are the two regions with the largest cargo exchange at Barcelona Port. In total, 538,700 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units) passed through Barcelona during the first quarter of 2011.


May 2, 2011 11:37 PM

Barcelona (ACN). - Barcelona’s port is increasing its activity and becoming one of the main engines of the economic recovery. This infrastructure experienced a 23% increase in container traffic during the first three months of 2011, according to data released by the Barcelona Port Authority. In total, 538,700 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units, referring to an average t-wenty-foot-large container) passed through Barcelona during the first quarter of 2011. This important rise is related to the increase in international trade. In addition, the total traffic of goods through this harbour during the first quarter of 2011 represents 11.2 million tones, a 12% increase compared to the same period in 2010. The two geographic areas that are trading the most with Barcelona Port are East and Southeast Asia as well as North Africa and Turkey.

Analysing the type of goods transported, bulk cargo is continuing to increase its share, during the first quarter of 2011. In particular, liquid bulk cargo, with a total of 2.9 million tones, grew 8% in comparison to the same period last year. The most significant increase corresponds to hydrocarbon fuel. 2.5 million tons were transported, mainly natural gas, 10% more than in 2011. Fruit, vegetables and legumes increased by 53% compared to the first quarter of 2010. Tobacco, coffee and cacao trade has grown 6% in the last 12 months. Finally, looking at machinery and mechanical goods, a total of 404,257 tones were transported between January and March 2011, 26% more than the same period last year.

Barcelona port, an automobile hub

Barcelona’s port is consolidating its position as a continental hub in automobile transportation. During the first three months of 2011, 168,799 vehicles were transported through the specialised terminals. This figure represents 19% more than the numbers registered during the same period in 2010. Automobile exports increased 29%. Sales grew in particular in northern European countries (the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Belgium), although other destinations such as Turkey, Russia or Ukraine also increased their sales volume. Vehicle imports (mainly vehicles unloaded and loaded again on to another ship with another destination) experienced a 15% increase mainly due to the Renault-Nissan plant in Chennai. Renault-Nissan uses the Catalan capital’s port as a distribution hub for transporting its vehicles to other European destinations, mainly in the UK and Holland.

Looking at import totals, the largest increases have been in trade volumes with the Asian market and Morocco. South Korea, India and Morocco, together represent 57% of the total import volume at the harbour during the first quarter of 2011. However, import origins are also diversifying. Other significant origin markets are Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Vietnam. However, China remains the main import area of origin.

China is the main import and export destination

Export destination regions departing from Barcelona’s port are experiencing a geographic diversification that must be noted. However, China continues being the main destination, although other Asian countries should be mentioned; such as South Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Chinese city of Hong Kong. In addition, southern and eastern Mediterranean countries such as Turkey, Algeria and Morocco, as well as American destinations such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile and the United States represent an important share of total exports.

328,744 passengers transported

During the first three months of the year, and not coinciding with the summer season, 328,744 passengers were transported, which means 11% more people compared with the same period in 2010. Passenger traffic mainly increased in the following destinations and activity areas: Balearic Islands (23%), North African ferries (48%) and tourist cruise ships (16%).