Cargo traffic in the Port of Tarragona grew by 6% in the first six months of 2019 compared to the same period in 2018. The Port of Tarragona, with an accumulated total of 16.9 million tons, is the sixth busiest port in Spain in cargo traffic for the period January-June 2019, after those of Algeciras, Valencia, Barcelona, Bilbao and Huelva.
The Port of Tarragona is part of the group of 15 port authorities (of the 28 in the Spanish State Port System) that increased their traffic in this period. It is in the middle of the table of the ports showing an increase in cargo traffic in the first six months of the year, specifically in eighth position, surpassing ports with more modest increases, such as Barcelona (+1.55%), Gijón (+2.13%), Avilés (+2.33%), Bahía de Cádiz (+2.39%), Bahía de Algeciras (+3.42 %), Cartagena (+3.53%) and Vilagarcia de Arousa (+3.68 %).
In absolute figures, the Port of Tarragona handled a total of 16,982,988 tons of cargo in the first six months of the year, almost a million tons more than in the same period in 2018 (16,034,380 tons). This increase in traffic was due to the boost given by such cargoes as bulk liquids, which increased between 1 January and 30 June 2019 by 14% compared to the first six months of 2018. This type of cargo rose from 9.73 million tons in the first six months of 2018 to 11.1 million tons in the period from January to June 2019.
This increase in bulk liquids made up for decreases in other types of merchandise such as, for example, bulk solids (-4.6%) and general cargo (-14.6%). The Port also saw an increase vehicle traffic. The number of vehicles handled by the Port of Tarragona increased by 10.8% in the first six months of the year with respect to the same period in 2018. Whereas from January to June 2018, 104,847 vehicles were handled, in the first six months of 2019 the figure was 116,124.
The month of June contributed decisively to achieving the January-June 2019 increase of 6%. In that month over 2.72 million tons of cargo were handled, an increase of more than 50% in cargo traffic compared to the same month last year. This sharp increase can be partially explained by the shutdown for improvements of the petrochemical complex in the first six months of 2018. Nevertheless, June 2019 was the fifth best in the last 15 years, only surpassed by June 2007 and June 2009, in which more than 3 million tons of cargo were handled, and June in 2011 and 2015, with 2.8 and 2.9 million tons respectively.
Tarragona can clearly be seen to be an importing port if we take the figures for the first six months of the year. In this period cargo from abroad totalled 66.6% of the traffic and grew by 5.3% with respect to the first six months of 2018. In contrast, at 11.6%, exports by sea were similar to those of 2018. Finally, cargo in transit –which uses the port as an intermediate point between its origin and destination– saw an increase of 27.2% compared to the first six months of 2018, accounting for 11.3% of maritime traffic.