Port services: key instruments in maritime logistics

Port services are one of the essential mechanisms to ensure the proper execution of the different commercial activities taking place at every single port around the globe. Some of the main functions covered that are worth mentioning include freight handling, nautical technical assistance, such as towage or berthing-casting off, other basic services such as those related to passenger transport passage or ship waste management services.

Companies specialising in providing these port services in Spain have seen a 3% increase in their turnover in 2016, more than 3.5 billion, according to a report issued by the INFORMA DBK Sectorial Observatory. This growth in turnover in the provision of port services is taking place within a context where freight traffic registered a record high last year, with the transportation of 500 million tonnes, according to data from Spain’s Port Authority.

Therefore, freight services (loading-unloading, stowing-unstowing, transport between ships or ship-port) are the most in-demand port service and responsible for the highest financial volume in 2016, accounting for 51.5% of the total turnover generated in this same year, totalling more than 3.5 billion euros. Consignment services are somewhat behind, at 35%, followed by towing, representing 8.8% and at the bottom of the list, the different port services as a whole, contributing towards almost 5% of the annual total.

Contrast with Europe

However, these national data generated by the DBK Sectorial Observatory report are in stark contrast to the situation in Europe in recent years, with the disparity between port terminals in the north and south of Europe being one of the main lines of actions of the European administration.

According to freight traffic data for 2016, ports located in the south account for the majority of the 50 most active docks that have been categorised, while port terminals located in the north of Europe have an overall higher level of global movement of TEU containers compared to their counterparts in the south: 59.2 million in the north compared to 50.3 million in the south.

Meantime, while freight traffic in Spain experienced a historic high in 2016 with more than 500 million tonnes of cargo, the exchange of products in Europe has fallen by 1.6%. This percentage represents the second major decline in logistics activities since the start of the 2008 recession, with the sector registering the largest fall in container traffic in recent times, of nearly 14% in one year.

Freight port activity has experienced volume growth in terms of containers of more than 12% compared to the period prior to the 2008 recession, very closely tied in with the growth in port services in recent times.

And within the context of port services, we cannot finish without mentioning the work of Bilogistik, a company with a broad range of experience in the sector and that provides its Spanish and foreign customers with an extensive range of ports services, such as consignment of ships, maritime chartering and the management of different customs and transport documents required, as well as many other services.

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