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After the pandemic, the Port of Barcelona has resumed its activity, surpassing the highest figure in the historical series so far, the 67.8 million tonnes in 2018.

The Port of Barcelona has registered a record at the operational level in 2022 and has managed to exceed its pre-pandemic turnover with 181 million euros. Although this income has been affected by a €25 million recovery plan to cope with the crisis, the year’s profits have improved on those of 2019, reaching €63 million. The Port’s president, Lluís Salvadó, highlighted these results as good, given the complicated international context in which they have been perceived.

The port’s total traffic has recorded a homogeneous growth in all segments, except for container traffic, which has remained similar to the previous year. Excluding containers, the most dynamic traffics have been potash and hydrocarbons, with an increase of 53% and 34.5%, respectively, driven by the investments made in previous years and the energy crisis. 

On the other hand, car traffic has improved significantly with an increase of 18.4%. It should be noted that exports have been affected by the lack of semiconductors and the closure of the Nissan plant. Imports grew by 63% and overall traffic by 145.7%.

José Alberto Carbonell, general manager of the Port of Barcelona, comments, “in recent years, the Port of Barcelona has become a distribution hub”, in order to understand the increase in traffic, with cars coming from Asia and being distributed throughout Europe from the Catalan capital. Electric cars account for 20% of imports, which are increasing and have made China the main origin, relegating Japan.

At present, the segment that continues to suffer the effects of covid are cruises, with 2.3 million passengers registered in 2022, still far from the 3.1 million of 2019, but above the 521,000 of 2021. Moderate growth is expected, between 2% and 3%, although improvements are expected on issues such as the recovery of routes with Barcelona as a home port and deseasonalisation.

Investment plan

The Barcelona Port Authority plans to invest some 300 million euros during 2023, according to Salvadó, “a qualitative leap” compared to previous years, with 32 million invested in 2021. Updating port infrastructures will be the most important item, with 200 million euros earmarked for new berths at the Moll de l’Energia and the enlargement of the Moll Adossat. 

In addition, 35 million euros will be invested in the electrification of the port and 28 million euros in new railway accesses. 31 million euros will also be earmarked for the renovation of the Port Vell, with the aim of preparing it for the America’s Cup.

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