Full steam ahead for Gibraltar’s port

Full steam ahead for Gibraltar’s port

Gibraltar’s small but strategic port has always been at the heart of the territory’s identity and importance. Now, homegrown business leaders in the maritime logistics and bunkering industries are charting an ambitious new course that will see the Rock expand its berthing and transport capacities significantly in the years ahead.

Today, Gibraltar’s government is guiding the private sector’s development, in order to reach the next level in expanded port, bunkering and logistics services. Some 70 percent of world trade now goes via sea; Gibraltar’s strategic geographic location, connecting the Atlantic to the Mediterranean and beyond, makes it a natural hub for development and investment. Indeed, with an ideal location, superb operations and bold vision, it is set to become the Mediterranean’s version of Dubai.
Gibraltar is now seizing the opportunity that the shipping, ports and bunkering sector represents. Already, the shipping sector accounts for approximately 25 percent of Gibraltar’s GDP, while half of the jurisdiction’s overall exports are re-exported petroleum products. The Rock’s economy and the sea are inextricably intertwined.

The Gibraltar Port Authority is taking the lead. New operational efficiency initiatives have been complemented by “an aggressive advertising and marketing campaign reinforcing the uniqueness of our port,” says Port Authority CEO Bob Sanguinetti. These efforts aim to showcase Gibraltar’s “ability to provide the widest range of marine services.” Working in coordination with the tourism ministry, the Port Authority is also increasing capacity for cruise ships. Port planners will also cater to superyachts – reinforcing the jurisdiction’s allure as a refined getaway for individuals of high net worth.

With an ideal location, superb operations and bold vision, Gibraltar's port is set to become the Mediterranean's version of Dubai

Gibraltar’s maritime industries’ future development plan

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In general, shipping authorities are confident that the next few years will see the highest volume of bunkers yet. When it comes to petroleum, Gibraltar’s diverse operating models (and product sourcing from multiple locations) guarantees reliable supply and port functioning. It also makes Gibraltar more competitive with the Spanish port of Algeciras, just to the west. For the Gibraltarians, having a strategic competitor just next door is no bad thing; it forces them to find smart new solutions and set new standards of quality.

One way of preserving the Rock’s competitive edge comes with the vital sphere of port security. Gibraltar, which has long complied with the relevant international safety codes, seeks to exceed all port safety requirements. Of course, maintaining a secure environment owes a great deal to the British Navy’s robust presence, as well as to the territory’s close working relations with other security organisations and law enforcement bodies. The ministry of defence’s permanent joint headquarters provides round-the-clock intelligence of all activities in the port and busy Strait.

The Gibraltar Red Ensign. Photo: Tony Evans The Gibraltar Red Ensign. Photo: Tony Evans

Flying the flag

Gibraltar’s classic Red Ensign occupies a privileged place among UK Overseas Territories’ flags. Unlike some, this is no flag of convenience – indeed, it’s somewhat difficult to obtain. The fact that not just anyone can qualify for a Red Ensign gives its owner a certain cachet. As a mark of distinction for pleasure craft and commercial vessels alike, the flag contributes to Gibraltar’s refined and singular brand.

The flag features a full red background, with the Union Jack in the upper left-hand corner. On the right is the Rock’s coat of arms: a red castle with three towers. From the door of the central tower hangs a golden key. The national motto Montis Insignia Calpe is inscribed below.


This article was published 12 October 2015
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