Las Palmas port, international hub of transport and logistics

Las Palmas port is undoubtedly the landmark  both of the city and the Island of Gran Canaria, and the biggest industrial zone in The Canary Islands. Currently, it is consolidating its position as the European gateway to Africa and America and as a global centre for developing and testing digital solutions in the port sector. 

Its strategic position, between Africa, Europe and America; its size, as the biggest port in The Canary Islands; its cutting-edge facilities and infrastructures; the service vocation of its business ecosystem; as well as, its security conditions, place it as the Atlantic Port Hub. Las Palmas Port is a deep-water port with draughts ranging between 3 and 45 meters and almost 16 kilometers of mooring line along all its piers which are provided with bunkering facilities.

Las Palmas port, thanks to its direct connection with more than 180 ports around the world and to more than 600 entities operating within its boundaries, enables Gran Canarias’s economy diversification and justifies its role as the economic engine of the Canary Islands. 

La Palmas port is not only a local benchmark but also a star player on the European and Spanish port sector, the 4th Spanish port in traffic and economy activity relevance and within the top 30 European ports in freight traffic.  It is an example of historic evolution from a must-stop in the maritime routes between Europe and the Southern Cone of America and Africa to one of the Spanish Brand emblems, becaming one of the top 4 Spanish ports above break-even point, with 2,5% positive return.

Gran Canaria is an island focused on marine and port activities development. Beyond Las Palmas port, as a leading international player, Gran Canaria has 13 more ports; outstanding among them, Salinetas Port, specialized in liquid bulks which provides industrial fuel to the airport, a multi-purpose port next Arinaga, the biggest industrial estate of the Canary Islands located in the island’s Southern area; an R&D port, closely linked to The Oceanic Platform of The Canary Islands (PLOCAN), and 10 minor ports and marinas, some of them quite relevant, such as Agaete Port, a highly transited port exceeding 1 million passengers a year.

Areas of activity in Las Palmas port 

The importance of Las Palmas port in the national and international scene lies in the diversification of its activities; ship repair, off-shore wind or bunkering, are some of the key economic sectors in which Las Palmas Harbor is commetted to innovation.

  • Bunkering:

Bunkering is the initial activity of Las Palmas Port, through which it has become a reference in the sector, ranked the second in Spain. The port supplied more than 2 million tonnes of fuel in 2021. Moreover, it showed a remarkable growth rate in the first quarter of 2022, reaching a 13,41% increase in relation to the same period of the previous year. 

The 63% of the annual stopovers, approximately 10.000, requests bunkering operations. In addition, between 30% to 40% of the stopovers were only intended to bunkering.

  • Ship repair:

Due to its ability to generate employment and the need for constant innovation, what requires skilled labor force, ship repair is the sector with greater weight in the local economy. 

Two shipyards are operating in Las Palmas port with specific divisions for off-shore platforms, oil&gas  and off-shore wind, as well as, a network of naval workshops and cutting-edge facilities, an important competitive advantage compared to other ports which enables the attraction of off-shore platforms and drillships. Furthermore, a new shipyard specialized in large sport boards will be operational in the upcoming months.

  • Off-shore Wind:

The repair of wind turbines is the next step in the evolution of the ship repair industry located in Las Palmas port, which has evolved from the fishing sector to the off-shore and O&G sectors  and will continue doing so to become a hub of innovation that enables sustainability and energy self-sufficiency.

To this end, an open call for tender is expected to be launched this year in order to grant a concession of public port domain intended for  assembling, installing and repairing off-shore installations components, which will become the greatest logistic center of the Spanish wind energy sector.

  • Cargo/container traffic:

Las Palmas port is one of the few Spanish ports that has three container terminals, what allows an important flow of cargo annually. In 2021, Las Palmas port exceeded one million TEUs, achieving the fourth place in the national ranking.

  • Cruises:

The port is the base for most of the shipping companies sailing along the Macaronesia route. Moreover the Port of Las Palmas led the ranking of Spanish ports during the 2021-2022 cruise season. Cruise industry is a great asset for Gran Canaria as a turist destination as it promotes the local economy; therefore the port is firmly committed to this sector. At the moment, a new terminal is under construction.

  • Crew change and supplies:

Its strategic location in the international shipping routes, places the port of Las Palmas as one of the main Mid Atlantic stopovers for crew changes, due to the proximity between the port and the international airport, with daily connections to more than 100 national and international destinations, and the presence of a wide range of hotels.

Digitalization, sandbox and new markets

Gran Canaria and its port are facing the future with determination to consolidate business opportunities in new market niches linked to digitization and data economy.

As in other worldwide leading ports, the business ecosystem is involved in a digital transition process where opportunities arise in for technological development allowing process automation, increasing operational security and exploiting the huge amount of multidimensional data generated by a complex and highly interconnected industrial environment, such as Las Palmas port.

In this area, there are included  actions oriented to incorporate new port/commercial operation models (eprocurement, port agent network platforms, digital bunkering platforms…). 

Additionally, Las Palmas port shows itself to be a suitable environment for testing non-commercial technologies and prototypes, such as, IoT and sensor technology, Machine Learning/Artificial Intelligence, massive data processing, robotics, self-sufficient navigation and new sustainable fuels. In all these fields, the port and the companies operating within it, provide an ideal testing ground/sandbox/natural laboratory for testing technological solutions oriented to the maritime sector of Gran Canaria.

Its potentiality is evidenced by the continued success of the Ports 4.0 initiative, a program developed by Puertos del Estado, which has been essential in the digital transformation of the sector. In the 2021-2022 call, the Port Authority of Las Palmas supported the candidacy of 25 projects at different stages of development (idea, pre-commercial and commercial), more than 50% of the projects submitted were admitted, many of which offered, among others, artificial intelligence solutions applied to maritime safety, signaling, waste collection, assisted navigation and ship mapping.

Taxation and financing: a unique framework in Gran Canaria

Tax incentives such as the Free-trade Zones with their special conditions regarding tax exemption and customs simplification; the tax deductions on R&D and Technological Innovation expenses, which can reach up to 75.6% of the eligible expenses implemented in the Canary Islands, compared to 45% in the rest of the national territory;  the possibility of setting up base in Gran Canaria as a ZEC company, accessing a reduced tax rate of 4% in the corporate tax; the Special Regime for Companies producing Tangible Goods, which can reduce by 50% the tax liability corresponding to the income derived from the sale of tangible goods produced in the Canary Islands related to industrial and fishing activities; and the deductions on new fixed assets adquisition (25% of the acquisition cost); are some of the advantages regulated by the Economic and Fiscal Regime of the Canary Islands. 

These instruments are combined with other incentives, such as, deductions for investments in the Canary Islands, the Special Regime for Ships and Shipping Companies in the Canary Islands (which includes different bonus and the Canary Islands Investment Reserve, that allows  to reduce the taxable base of the Corporate Tax in each tax period for allocations made to the Canary Islands Investment Reserve, with a limit of 90% of the undistributed profits corresponding to their establishments located in the Canary Islands; the latter being an important instrument for companies with business reinvestment plans.

Therefore, there is  a set of instruments that can be efficiently combined to support the development of business projects on the island. Along with the financing streams for innovation, provided by public institutions focused on industrial research and applied experimental development activities (CDTI), there are available funding lines for innovative projects in the form of participative loans (through Enisa, Sodecan or the island’s own tool managed by the SPEGC), all this instruments generate the ideal and suitable context for accelerating businesses and research projects in the industrial ecosystem of Las Palmas port. 

Las Palmas Port’s figures:

  • 24/7 service
  • Thirty maritime lines operating
  • In 2021, it experienced a growth of 9.11%, compared to the cumulative figure for 2019
  • In 2021, it moved 22,714,368 tons of goods and register the stopover of 9,552 merchant vessels
  • It has a storage capacity of 328,076 cubic meters of fuel
  • It has 7,000 meters of pipelines for dock supply, seven barges for afloat supply and a large fleet of tanker trucks, which allows the main traders and suppliers to operate there at any time of the day.
  • During the 2021-2022 cruise season, it led the ranking of Spanish ports, with a record of 730,000 passengers
  • It has 170,000 m2 of shipyard space, making it the largest dry and afloat repair center in the mid-Atlantic
  • In the near future, it will make 120,000 square meters for the off-shore wind.

If you have a project linked to the marine-maritime port area, IAT Marino-Marítima is the perfect place for its acceleration and validation; where you will find specialized services of technical-entrepreneurial support, technological services, cloud computing and experimentation environments provided by the Port of Las Palmas and PLOCAN to make your project a success.

For further information about Las Palmas Port, please visit the website of the Port Authority of Las Palmas.

For further information on taxation, financing and establishment of companies/projects in Gran Canaria, please visit ‘Business Support Service‘ section on the SPEGC website.