Brussels, Belgium (PortSEurope) May 5, 2017 – The latest (2015) available statistical data on freight handling and passenger traffic in ports in the European Union (EU), Iceland, Norway, Montenegro and Turkey estimates total gross weight of goods handled in EU ports at just above 3.8 billion tonnes in 2015, an increase of 1.3% from 2014.
Algeciras (port city in the south of Spain & the largest city on the Bay of Gibraltar) is the fifth largest European freight port, after Rotterdam, Antwerp, Hamburg and Amsterdam.
The number of passengers passing through EU ports increased 0.6% between 2014 and 2015, to more than 395 million. With 70 million passengers passing through its ports, Italy was the major seaborne passenger country in Europe in 2015, followed by Greece with close to 66 million passengers. These two seaborne passenger countries had a combined share of over one third of the total number of seaborne passengers embarking and disembarking in the EU countries.
The number of vessels calling in the main EU ports in 2015 is estimated at over 2.2 million, an increase of 1.7% from the previous year. In the same period, the estimated gross tonnage (GT) of the vessels calling in EU ports grew by 3.3% to 16.4 billion GT (average size of vessels calling in the main EU-28 ports increased by 1.6% to about 7,400 GT in 2015).
At 594 million tonnes, the volume of seaborne goods handled in Dutch ports represented 15.5% of the EU-28 total in 2015, followed by the UK 485 (12.9%) and Italy 449.5 (11.9%). Other ports in southern Europe handled: Spain 447 million tonnes, Turkey 412, France 296, Greece 148.6, Portugal 85.3, Romania 43.6, Bulgaria 27.2, Slovenia 19.9, Croatia 15.9, Cyprus 7.4 and Malta 3.7.
Compared with 2014, the largest relative increases in port freight activity were recorded by Cyprus (+42.9%), Montenegro (+19.8%), Slovenia (+10.7%), Turkey (+8.7%) and Portugal (+8.2%). In the five-year period between 2010 and 2015 Cyprus registered the largest relative increase (+47.6%), followed by Slovenia (+ 36.6%), Portugal (+31.5%) and Greece (+30.2%).
Inward movement of goods to the EU-28 countries increased by 0.5% to almost 2.3 billion tonnes in 2015, while outwards movements increased by 2.5% to almost 1.6 billion tonnes. Inward movements accounted for more than 59% of the total tonnes of goods handled in the EU ports. Liquid bulk goods, such as crude oil and oil products, made up a substantial proportion of the inward tonnage.
Romania, Bulgaria and Montenegro all had high shares of outward movements of goods. Liquid bulk made up 38% of the total cargo handled. Dry bulk goods handled by the ports in Turkey were 159 million tonnes. Romania had the highest share of dry bulk goods as a percentage of the total tonnages in 2015, mainly reflecting large volumes of outward movements of agricultural products from its ports. The largest volumes of containerised goods (130 million tonnes) were handled in Spanish ports.
The 20 largest cargo ports accounted for close to 39% of the total tonnage of goods handled in the main European ports in 2015, a slight increase compared to 2014. Botas in Turkey recorded a growth of 37% from 2014, overtaking Marseille (France) as the 6th largest cargo port. The Turkish ports of Izmir and Aliaga also reported substantial increases in the total tonnage of goods handled in 2015 (+9.5% and +15.3%, respectively).
Sines in Portugal saw growth of almost 18% and became the 18th largest European port in terms of gross weight of goods handled in 2015. The port of Piraeus in Greece reported a 7.5% decrease in port activity in 2015, mainly due to reduced volumes of goods in containers.
With close to 11.58 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) handled, Rotterdam was Europe’s largest container port in 2015. In southern Europe the leading ports were: Valencia (Spain) 4.61 million TEUs, Algeciras (Spain) 4.52, Piraeus (Greece) 3.36, Ambarli (Turkey) 3.06, Gioia Tauro (Italy) 3.03, Genoa (Italy) 2.08, Barcelona (Spain) 1.95, La Spezia (Italy) 1.58, Mersin (Turkey) 1.43, Sines (Portugal) 1.33 and Marseille (France) 1.26.
Eleven of the top 20 container ports recorded decreases in the number of TEUs handled compared to 2014. In relative terms, two of the largest decreases were seen by Gioia Tauro in Italy (-18.3%) and Ambarli in Turkey (-11.1%). Two of the largest relative increases were recorded by La Spezia in Italy (+25.1%) and Sines in Portugal (+8.5%).
The most specialised of the top 20 cargo ports in handling containers were Bremerhaven in Germany, Piraeus in Greece and Valencia in Spain; the most specialised in handling liquid bulk goods were Bergen in Norway, Botas in Turkey and Trieste in Italy.
Nine of the top 20 cargo ports in 2015 were located on the Mediterranean, while eight were located on the North Sea coast of Europe.
In countries with long shorelines or a large number of islands, like Italy, Greece, Denmark and Norway, the share of national seaborne transport tend to be relatively high (from 16 to 29%).
Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Croatia, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania and Slovenia, have high shares of extra-EU transport (above 55%), based on their geographical position or the “deep sea” nature of the transport activities prevailing in their main ports.
The total number of passengers embarking and disembarking in EU ports is estimated at 395 million in 2015, a rise of 0.6% from the previous year, but during the last five years, the total number of passengers embarking and disembarking in EU ports has fallen by 7.0%.
At 70 million and close to 66 million seaborne passengers, respectively, Italian and Greek ports handled a combined share of more than 34% of the total number of passengers embarking and disembarking in EU ports in 2015. In consequence, Italy and Greece remained the main countries in terms of EU seaborne passenger transport, despite both countries recording decreases in passengers embarking and disembarking compared to 2014 (-2.7% and -1.0%, respectively).
Compared with the previous year, the largest relative increases in seaborne passenger transport were recorded by Bulgaria (+60.1% from a low base), Slovenia (+25.7%), Croatia (+15.9%) and Romania (+15.8%) in 2015.
Compared with the seaborne passenger volumes in 2010, 13 of the 23 maritime EU countries recorded decreases in 2015. The highest relative falls were observed for Cyprus (-36.7%), Greece (-23.6%), Italy (-19.8%) and Portugal (-16.8%). Romania registered the largest relative increase (+142.7% from a low base). The neighbouring Bulgaria also reported a substantial rise in seaborne passengers of 67.4% over the last five years, as did Turkey (+41.6%).
Although cruise passengers made up only 3.1% of the total number of passengers embarking and disembarking in EU ports in 2015, these passengers play an important role in the ports and countries where the cruise traffic is concentrated.
The majority of the seaborne passenger transport in the EU is carried out between ports situated in the same country (57%), reflecting the dominant role of national ferry services in the EU seaborne passenger transport. In general, countries with busy ferry connections to and from well-populated islands will have both a large volume of seaborne passenger transport and a high share of national maritime passenger transport. This applies to the two leading maritime passenger countries, Italy and Greece, as well as countries like Spain, Croatia and Portugal.
The number of vessels calling in main EU-28 ports in 2015 is estimated at just above 2.2 million, an increase of 1.7% from the previous year. In the same period, the estimated gross tonnage (GT) of the vessels calling in EU ports grew by 3.3% to 16.4 billion GT. As a result, the average size of vessels calling in the main EU-28 ports increased by 1.6% to about 7 400 GT in 2015.
Italy saw both the highest number of port calls and the largest gross tonnage of vessels making port calls in 2015 (510,000 vessels with a combined gross tonnage of 2.3 billion GT). Greece had the second highest number of port calls (475,000 vessels).
Detailed tables with full data about all transportation activities in European ports at http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Maritime_ports_freight_and_passenger_statistics
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