The trading between China and Spain has grown significantly over the past few decades, with both countries benefiting from increased trade and investment. Being two of the world’s largest economies, China and Spain have a lot to offer each other in terms of goods, services, and investment opportunities.
According to data from the United Nations COMTRADE database, the total trade volume between China and Spain reached $33.6 billion in 2019. This figure represents a significant increase from the $11.7 billion recorded in 2009, highlighting the rapid growth of trade relations between the two countries over the past decade.
In 2019, Spain’s exports to China amounted to $7.6 billion, while imports from China reached $26 billion. This trade imbalance is largely due to the fact that China is the world’s largest exporter of goods, and Spain is a significant importer of Chinese products.
The main industries driving trade between China and Spain includes machinery and equipment, textiles and clothing, chemicals, and automotive products.
As a result of the strong trade ties, cargo transportation between these two countries has become increasingly important. There are three main options for cargo transportation from China to Spain: sea freight, air freight, and rail freight. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages, depending on factors such as the type of cargo, the urgency of the shipment, and the budget.
Sea freight is the most common and cost-effective method for shipping large volumes of cargo between China and Spain. The ocean voyage typically takes around 30-40 days, depending on the specific route and shipping line. There are two main options for sea freight: Full Container Load (FCL) and Less than Container Load (LCL). FCL is suitable for large shipments that can fill an entire container, while LCL is ideal for smaller shipments that can be consolidated with other cargo in a shared container.
The main ports in China for cargo transportation to Spain include:
- Shanghai Port (SHG)
- Ningbo Port (NGB)
- Shenzhen Port (SZX)
- Qingdao Port (TAO)
- Tianjin Port (TSN)
In Spain, the primary ports for receiving cargo shipments from China are:
- Port of Valencia (VLC)
- Port of Barcelona (BCN)
- Port of Algeciras (ALG)
- Port of Bilbao (BIO)
Air freight is the fastest mode of cargo transportation between China and Spain, with transit times ranging from 3 to 7 days. However, it is also the most expensive option, making it suitable for urgent shipments or high-value goods. Air freight is typically charged by weight, so it is not cost-effective for large or heavy shipments.
The major airports in China for cargo transportation to Spain include:
- Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG)
- Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN)
- Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport (SZX)
- Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK)
In Spain, the main airports for receiving cargo shipments from China are:
- Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport (MAD)
- Barcelona-El Prat Airport (BCN)
Rail freight is a relatively new option for cargo transportation between China and Spain, with the first direct train service launched in 2014, it is usually called Yiwu-Madrid freight train. China – Europe trains typically take 15-20 days, depending on the distance and the customs inspection delay. The railway line runs through Kazakhstan – Russia – Belarus – Poland – Germany – Spain. This method offers a balance between the speed of air freight and the cost-effectiveness of sea freight, with transit times of around 18-22 days. Rail freight is particularly suitable for shipments of large, heavy, or bulky goods that are not time-sensitive.
The types of goods that are commonly shipped from China to Spain include:
- Machinery and mechanical appliances
- Electrical machinery and equipment
- Textiles and clothing
- Furniture and home furnishings
- Toys, games, and sports equipment
- Plastics and plastic products
- Vehicles and vehicle parts
- Base metals and articles of base metals
- Optical, photographic, and medical equipment
Cargo transportation between China and Spain is an essential aspect of the global trade landscape. With various shipping options available, businesses can choose the most suitable method based on factors such as cost, transit time, and the nature of the goods being shipped. By understanding the main ports, airports, and types of goods involved in cargo transportation between these two countries, businesses can make informed decisions and optimize their supply chain operations.
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