The Port of Barcelona ended 2015 with positive results in its key traffic indicators, with record figures in foreign trade and certain strategic cargo segments such as vehicles and motorways of the sea.
Containers are a key traffic and a good barometer of the economic environment, and the Port registered 2 million TEUs (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units, equivalent to one 20-foot container), up 4 percent year on year. This growth was even higher if taken only in terms of foreign trade. Export containers at the Port of Barcelona increased by 6.5 percent, while on the import side there was year-on-year growth of 9 percent.
These results also indicate that export container traffic at the Port of Barcelona in 2015 was 52 percent higher than before the onset of the crisis in 2008. In addition to showing faster growth, the figures also point to a significant change in the make-up of the foreign trade handled by the Port. While imports accounted for 54 percent of international trade and exports for 46 percent in 2008, today this ratio has been inverted, with 58 percent of containers for export and 42 percent for import.
As for total traffic, an indicator that includes all cargo segments, the Port of Barcelona managed more than 47 million metric tons of freight in 2015, up 1.5 percent on the previous year, when the total volume was 46.3 million metric tons.
Vehicles traffic performed very well in 2015, recording a year-on-year increase of 18 percent. The Port of Barcelona closed the year with 881,893 cars transported, which is an all-time record, 80,000 units more than the previous record from 2007, when 801,400 vehicles came through our facilities.
Once again, the boost in foreign trade was responsible for these results. Exports accounted for the bulk of the units handled, with 453,357 vehicles shipped to various destinations around the world (up 5 percent). Although in lesser measure, there was also a sharp rise in imports (172,143 units), which grew 41 percent thanks to the recovery of the domestic market.
Another record-breaking figure was the volume of goods transported by the motorways of the sea -the short sea shipping lines connecting the Catalan capital with several destinations in Italy and North Africa. In 2015 the Port of Barcelona's motorways of the sea channeled 136,659 ITUs (intermodal transport units, equivalent to one truck, platform or trailer), marking an increase of 21.5 percent.
The dynamism experienced by traffic with Italy (to which we are connected via services to Civitavecchia, Livorno, Genoa, Savona and Porto Torres) is behind this excellent performance, which translated to nearly 137,000 trucks diverted from the roads to the maritime mode. The Port of Barcelona has established itself as a leader in the Iberian Peninsula for short sea shipping traffic, a mode of transport with significant economic and environmental advantages.
As for passenger traffic, it is worth noting that more than 3.7 million travelers used the Port of Barcelona in 2015 (up 7 percent), including regular ferry users (1.1 million) and cruise passengers.
There were 2.54 million tourist cruise passengers, representing an increase of 7 percent. However, it should be underlined that the largest increase concerned cruise passengers in turnaround (those who begin and end their cruise in Barcelona and therefore represent a greater economic contribution to the city), who represented an 11 percent rise (compared to the 3 percent growth in passengers in transit).