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Researchers to publish Strait of Gibraltar study

24 Jan 2011 08:01 GMT

Study examines the key factors that influence the decision to purchase marine fuel in the Strait of Gibraltar.



The Journal of Transport Geography is to publish a report carried out by researchers at the University of Cádiz, Spain, which examines the factors that influence the decision to purchase marine fuel in the three ports of the Strait of Gibraltar - Algeciras, Gibraltar and Ceuta.

As part of their market research, Manuel Acosta, María del Mar Cerbán y Daniel Coronado are said to have contacted a number of public and private institutions in the region and to have carried out 43 separate interviews and received 41 questionnaires.

The study entitled ‘Competencia y competitividad del bunkering en los Puertos del Estrecho de Gibraltar’ (Competition and competitivenes of bunkering in the ports of the Strait of Gibraltar) highlights and examines three main factors that influence competitiveness: cost related factors, factors linked to infrastructure and the quality of services and the geographical area.

A key aim of the report was to understand the relevance of each one of these factors in order for the three ports to develop strategies that would enable them to improve their competitiveness as bunkering locations.

According to data compiled by the researchers the port of Ceuta recorded a decrease in bunker volumes between 2001 and 2007, whilst Gibraltar and Algeciras achieved a rise in sales during the same period.

In 2001 Ceuta sold 654,471 tonnes of marine fuel, but the annual figure plummeted 116,803 tonnes, or 17.8 percent, to 537,668 tonnes in 2007. However, during the same period sales rose by 50.46 percent in Algeciras and by 44.30 percent in Gibraltar.

The Strait of Gibraltar is the largest bunkering hub in the Mediterranean and the second largest in Europe after Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA). In total, 7,14 million tonnes were sold in the Strait of Gibraltar in 2007 with Gibraltar taking the largest market share at 60.5 percent, Algeciras selling 32 percent and Ceuta with 7.5 percent.

The study found that the main factor that influences the decision to purchase marine fuel in the Strait of Gibraltar is price. The second most important factor was said to be the importance and reputation of the Strait of Gibraltar - especially the port of Gibraltar - in global shipping. Other key factors were cost-related ones such as port tariffs and waiting time, whilst others such as port security and labour conflicts were given a low rating.

The researchers concluded that the port authorities of the Strait of Gibraltar should look at improving docking facilities and port tariffs and adopt joint strategies for all three ports.




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