The strategic location of Spain in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, connecting Europe, Africa and America, has made it a crossroads through which people, goods and ideas have passed providing us with the open and diverse character that identifies the Spanish people around the world. In 40 years of democracy, this role as a centre for communication has not only been consolidated, but rather it has made us a leader in terms of infrastructures and technologies.
Renowned worldwide for high-speed rail
If there is a sector that Spain has been leading for years it is that of high-speed rail. Since the first AVE line in 1992 until today, Spain has become the no.1 nation in Europe in terms of the length of its high-speed network – more than 3,240 kilometres – and the second in the world, only surpassed by China. We don’t stand out just for length: according to a study by the Economic Studies’ Institute (IEE) in 2016, with data from the World Economic Forum, Spain has the fourth best rail network in the world in terms of quality, surpassed only by Japan, Switzerland and Hong Kong.
The major companies involved in the Spanish high-speed rail sector all agree that technological development, efficiency, innovation and sustainability are the key factors that have made Spain a major player in exporting high-speed rail systems and the vast experience it has acquired over recent decades. Spanish companies lead large-scale high-speed projects in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Norway, the US, Italy, the UK and the Spain-France link. Exports in this area exceeded 1,500 million Euros in 2016 according to data from the Ministry of Public Works. Globalisation has propelled forward small and medium-sized enterprises directly or indirectly.
Amongst the top 5 airports
In addition to high-speed rail, Spanish infrastructures stand out worldwide for their present airport network, one of the most modern in the world and with the highest air connectivity. It is ranked fifth in the world in terms of the number of connections with 325 domestic routes and 1,300 flights abroad. The number of Airlines operating in Spain has risen from less than 5 companies to 50 in the last 20 years according to the report The Spanish Air Revolution, by the Smart Regulation Forum.
In 2017 Spanish airports recorded traffic of 210 million air passengers, Spain was classified third in the ranking of EU countries with the highest thoroughfare of travellers, according to Eurostat, the European Statistics Agency. The airports of Madrid and Barcelona are ranked fifth and sixth in Europe in terms of the movement of passengers, according to these statistics.
So it’s no surprise that IATA (International Air Transport Association) selected Madrid in 2018 for its world head offices. From the Spanish capital IATA manages the operations of 280 airlines which belong to the association, accounting for 83% of traffic worldwide. This entails a turnover of air tickets of around 150 billion USD (125,549 million Euros). For Rafael Schvartzman, the regional vice-president for Europe of IATA, “Madrid’s selection has made clear IATA’s historic commitment to Spain as the nerve centre of international air transport”.
The leading country in Europe in terms of motorways and freeways
As far as the road system is concerned, Spain is ranked first in Europe in terms of kilometres of motorways and freeways according to the Ministry of Public Works. It has 17,163 kilometres of toll motorways, toll-free motorways, freeways and multilane roads. Germany as 13,000 kilometres and France around 12,000.
Spanish companies are ranked amongst the top companies worldwide with the most motorway concessions in the world according to Engineering News Record (ENR) and Publics Works Financing (PWF).
As far as port infrastructures are concerned, three Spanish ports are on the list of the top ten in Europe with the most container traffic in 2018: Valencia, Algeciras and Barcelona. The report Top 200 container ports 2018, drawn up every year by Transporte XXI, indicated that in 2017 Spanish ports reached 16 million TEUs, up 5% on the previous year. A new record which consolidates Spain as the eighth power worldwide in this business and the second in Europe, behind Germany.
- Report The Spanish air revolution, by the Smart Regulation Forum
- Eurostat, the European Statistics Agency
- Engineering News Record (ENR)
- Report Top 200 container ports