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Goods throughput down by 27% in PortCastelló due to shrinking international trade and armed conflicts

1 February 2024

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  • Rubén Ibáñez points out that the last quarter saw a steady rise in solid and liquid bulk
  • Rubén Ibáñez is confident that the new expansion area in the South Dock and increases in connectivity infrastructure will be the catalyst to attract more throughput and shipping companies to the Port of Castellon

01-02-2024. Goods throughput in the Port of Castellon fell by 27% in 2023 compared to the previous year, from 20,907,494 tonnes to 15,710,712 tonnes.

This decline was mainly the outcome of shrinking international trade in 2023 which was severely impacted by surging energy prices, high interest rates, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the conflict in Israel and the tariffs imposed by Algeria.

“2023 was a tough year. We found ourselves in the middle of a perfect storm due to the situation in countries which are highly strategic markets for us,” said the Chairman of the Port Authority of Castellon, Rubén Ibáñez. In addition, the two-month turnaround at the BP refinery in the Port of Castellon, which shut down the facility, hampered overall liquid bulk throughput.

However, Rubén Ibáñez noted that solid bulk throughput recovered in December with a 23.5% increase compared to the same month in 2022. There was also a steady rise in solid and liquid bulk in the last quarter. He added that these figures “point to a change in the trend, which is likely to take shape from the second quarter of 2024 onwards.”

Rubén Ibáñez commented that “for us it is essential to ramp up throughput in the Port of Castellon and secure cargo by stepping up the port’s specialisation, while still growing in emerging markets and bringing in new goods”, although he did underscore the uncertainty that is pervading markets globally.

The Chairman of the Port Authority outlined the work strands to recover goods throughput and attract new lines. “Our approach is to promote diversification and attract new markets, such as cereals, by leveraging the fact that nearby ports such as Sagunto and Valencia currently do not have sufficient capacity, and this gives us a competitive advantage.”

He also mentioned the work being done related to the wind industry and the European Union’s commitment to this type of energy. He further referred to the development of the new expansion area at the South Dock. Indeed, the enclosing breakwater for the confinement area at the dock is to be completed this year which will mean gaining 420,000 square metres from the sea. This space comes on top of the 350,000 square metres already available. “Castellon is the port with the most land available in the entire Mediterranean arc which gives us an excellent chance to compete and pull in businesses.”

The Port Authority of Castellon has additionally approved a Business Plan which envisages €378 million in investment over the next five years, primarily for developing infrastructures at the South Dock, rail and road accessibility and the South Costa Quay. “These investments will enable us to continue growing our turnover and services and also to create employment while the projects are being implemented, helping towards the economic revitalisation of our local area,” said Rubén Ibáñez.

Statistics

By type of goods, solid bulk throughput fell by 29.2% in 2023, from 9.1 million tonnes to 6.4 million; general cargo was down 27.2%, from 1.4 million tonnes in 2022 to 1 million tonnes; and liquid bulk traffic dropped by 20.5%, from 10.2 million tonnes to 8.1 million tonnes.

Therefore, liquid bulk accounted for 51.9% of total goods throughput at the Port of Castellon in 2023 while solid bulk represented 41.2% and general cargo 6.9%.

The figures show that 72.1% of the operations carried out last year at PortCastelló were for unloaded goods and the other 27.1% for loaded throughput.

The principal goods handled through the Port of Castellon in 2023 were crude oil at 4.1 million tonnes followed by feldspar (2.4 million tonnes) and petrol (1 million tonnes).

PortCastelló’s main trading destinations were Turkey, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Italy, Angola and Egypt.

 

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