Spanish ports industry in recovery

Industry Database

María Luisa Guibert, president of Algeposa, has said that recent figures released by Ports of the State clearly show that Spanish ports are beginning to recover from the downturn many have experienced as part of the recent economic downturn.

She noted that the nation’s ports handle 68% of overseas trade, which amounted to 400m tonnes last year. Furthermore, the ports sector generates 8.7% of GDP and employs 1.23% of the total Spanish workforce.

Although Spanish ports do still have a wide range of independent terminal operators, there has been a steady concentration of this area in recent times, given the downturn in overall traffic, with major shipping lines, such as Maersk and Cosco, now leading box terminal operators.

Algeposa’s main experience is in the Port of Bilbao, where it holds a 20% stake in the Noatum terminal via its Servicios Logísticos Portuarios subsidiary, with Cosco having the majority shareholding.

However, the main problem, as seen by Ms Guibert, is the high level of costs and fees that terminal operators have to pay via their concessions simply to operate and use port space. Investment in equipment is another major spend, although labour costs are also high.

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