The president of the Port Authority of the Bay of Algeciras, Gerardo Landaluce, explained that “the Port of Algeciras is ready” so that supply chains suffer as little as possible from the Red Sea crisis. “When the Eastern Mediterranean closes, we are left with the door to the Western Mediterranean, which is ours, and we must value that strength that we have,” he said about a strategic position that is reinforced by the conflict that affects the 15% of global freight traffic by seawhich abandons the Suez Canal route to take the Cape of Good Hope route, with an increase in navigation time of about ten days in exchange for security.
The increase in traffic began to be seen in Algeciras at the end of 2023, when slight delays were recorded in some terminals, although the situation is currently normal. “The start of 2024 is also being complicated, intense, although The Port of Algeciras operates normally except for delays on routes that crossed the Suez Canal and now border Africa. Algeciras is prepared to host these traffics as a strategic port in Europe and as a safe and reliable environment,” Landaluce said in a public appearance days ago.
“Once again, a conjunctural situation shows the strategic role that Algeciras plays to alleviate the problems that arise in the main maritime routes”, said the president of the Port, who has once again requested the elimination of obstacles that impede the development of the Port and hinder its competitiveness.
According to Landaluce, the Strait port “needs a state policy that values its strategic location and translates into investments in land connectivity (rail and road access) as well as in the support of administrations to provide the environmental feasibility that the projects need and that are currently insurmountable walls.” If it goes ahead, the APBA contemplates investments of 511 million of euros in the next five years, of which 103 correspond to the current year and which will be allocated to both the land side and the sea side.
2024 is conditioned, in addition to the Red Sea crisis and an increase in freight prices to double their price a few months ago, by the entry into force of the ETS -(Emissions Trading System) European directive that integrates maritime transport into the CO2 emissions market. “We have a lot at stake in maritime connectivity; the Mediterranean ports dedicated to transshipment unanimously demand that Brussels incoherence of the ETS as it is proposed, and also that its application be improved,” he requested.
Around the port there are initiatives such as Green Maritime Corridor driven by Cepsa between Algeciras and Rotterdam; the entry into operations of the Bahía Levante and Levante LNG supply vessels, from Mureloil and Peninsula Petroleum, respectively; the new one Endesa LNG terminal or the supply of biofuels by Cepsa to Armas shipping company.
Also notable is the project OffShore Dredging in the port facilities of Campamento (San Roque), a concession whose activity will be the construction and mechanical completion of HVDC conversion platforms of 2 GW -used for the reception of electrical energy generated by offshore wind farms-, an initiative for which public information is processed and which will have a high impact on job creation.
In addition, the start of work is planned to provide OPS (electrical connection) to the Algeciras and Tarifa docks; or the launch of the Seal that companies adhering to the APBA Green Strategy can wear.
The Port of Algeciras, according to a provisional balance, has closed 2023 for the eighth consecutive year with more than 100 million tons of merchandise activity, 104.7 millionfigure 2.3% below the previous year’s result, weighed down by the drop in liquid and solid bulk.
The 5.5 million passengers (+26.3%), highlighting the Tarifa-Tangier City line, which with more than 1.3 million passengers represents a growth of 66% in its 20th anniversary operating as a Schengen Border. For its part, the Strait has absorbed 458,000 trucks with goods import/export, 1% less.
Among the numbers one piece of information stands out: 211. They are megaships (container ships with a capacity of more than 16,000 teus) that have operated in 2023 in the container terminals of the Port of Algeciras, 47% more than the previous year, all of them covering regular lines between Asia and Europe. Container traffic, still in provisional figures, reaches 4.73 million TEUs, 0.7% less than the previous year. In this section, the increase in full import containers by 10% and the decrease in export containers by 16% stands out.