The Port of Barcelona has reported more than one million cruise passengers (1,040,823) during the first half of the year, for an increase of 15% over the same period in 2012. The Catalan facility recorded a total of 352 cruise calls by the month of June, up 15% on last year’s figures.

Approximately 56% of the total number of cruise passengers was turnarounds (either beginning or ending their schedules in Barcelona). This category of passenger contributes the most to the local economy, by often extending their stay in the city either at the beginning or the end of their cruise schedule, according to a port statement.

Barcelona said it is the leading cruise port in Europe and the Mediterranean and the fourth largest homeport in the world. The forecast for this year is that 2.6 million passengers will arrive at the port, equaling the record set in 2011.

During the first six months, 398.323 ferry passengers also arrived in the Port of Barcelona bringing the passenger total to 1.4 million (+9%). In the month of June ferry passenger numbers grew 9%.

In addition to passengers, Barcelona closed the first half of the year with 12% growth in container exports, which in absolute terms represents 276.283 TEU. June has been one of the months that have most helped to push up these results, with growth standing at 14%.

Container imports grew 5% in June in spite of a slight overall decrease during the first six months of the year (2%).

The total volume of containers handled in the Port of Barcelona during the first six months of the year was 828.169 TEU. This constitutes a decrease of 3% mainly due to a 42% decrease in container transshipments.

By the end of June, the terminals of the Port of Barcelona had handled over 21 million tons of cargo, a figure, virtually the same as last year. In terms of the different traffic segments, the figures for vehicles’ traffic were particularly of note with a total of 364,217 units, an increase of 6% on the previous year. Vehicle transshipments have grown significantly by 50% in relation to 2012.

Liquid bulk has also performed well with a total of 5.2 million tons (+1%). Within this cargo sector, gasoline grew (+69%), exceeding a million tons during the first six months of the year. Fuel also went up (+79%) with 616.293 million tons recorded, and chemical products were also up (+9%).

The increase in oils is directly linked to the development of new, dedicated terminals, such as Meroil Lukoil (opened in May 2012) and Tradebe, which came into operation in April. Another contributing factor of significance has been the construction of berth 34B, offering the deepest draft berthing position for liquid bulk vessels in the Western Mediterranean. With these new facilities, the Port of Barcelona has strengthened its role as a distribution hub for petroleum products from the Mediterranean and North Africa.