Editorial / 20 Aug 2023

A Bay of Opportunity

Two administrations, one high standard of service

Sitting at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula, the Bay of Gibraltar serves as a critical juncture for commercial shipping. Vessels heading from the Middle East and Asia through the Mediterranean often use the 8km wide bay as one of their last ports of call before transiting the Strait of Gibraltar and entering the Atlantic Ocean en route to the Americas or Northern Europe.

The bay is home to two ports for two major European nations: the Port of Gibraltar, a seaport in the British overseas territory; and the Port of Algeciras, one of Spain’s largest commercial ports. The close connectivity and relationship between those two ports is key to servicing and supporting the more than 110,000 vessels that transit the Strait every year.

GAC is present at both ports, offering its range of industry-leading shipping and logistics services. GAC Gibraltar opened its doors in 2019, followed three years later by GAC Spain out of Algeciras. And that dual presence enables GAC to make the most of its combined strength to offer comprehensive coverage and effective and rapid services to customers stopping in the Bay of Gibraltar.

Double benefit
“With two major offices in close proximity to each other, we can provide vessels transiting the Strait of Gibraltar the benefits of two major ship agents in one,” says Sergio de la Torre, GAC Spain’s Branch Manager. “Collaboration between our teams in Spain and Gibraltar gives us the significant advantage of being able to offer a broad range of services to customers at a reduced cost. It also helps avoid possible hold-ups in deliveries.”

GAC Spain and GAC Gibraltar offer identical shipping and logistics services from ship agency and husbandry services to bunker fuels and ship spares logistics, for all manner of vessel and cargo types. Sergio notes that these identical offerings mean they always remain in close coordination, with the advantage of working with the same suppliers and partners, offering cost savings and seamless services to its customers, even amid unforeseen circumstances.


“There are situations where a vessel has been diverted from Algeciras to Gibraltar and vice versa due to unforeseen port delays,” he adds. “Fortunately, our customers do not notice any ramifications as the close collaboration between the two offices mean the service they receive is exactly the same.

“This was a major factor behind the launch of GAC’s operations at the Port of Algeciras. We realised the benefits of having a major presence in the Bay of Gibraltar, both in terms of cost and operational requirements, so we can continue to effectively support vessels transiting a geographically strategic location.”

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Land border
One of the leading challenges of the region is the land border between Spain and Gibraltar, which is closed at the weekends, and the customs and clearance checks that have to be cleared as only one of the administrations involved is in the European Union. GAC’s presence in both locations means it can easily overcome that hurdle.

“The border closure can delay spare parts deliveries. To avoid that, we deliver spares to Gibraltar through a specialised Off Port Limits (OPL) service via the Port of Algeciras,” says Sergio. “This was another reason why we quickly looked to establish a presence in mainland Spain to support our operations across the bay.”

Active member
GAC continues to play a major part in the development and operation of the Bay of Gibraltar. It is an active member of both the Gibraltar Port Operators Association (GPOA) and the Algeciras Port Community COMPORT, enabling its offices in Spain and on The Rock (as Gibraltar is known, colloquially) to maintain relationships with the local port authorities, operators, managers, captains and service providers. This ensures it is fully aware of all regulations and requirements relevant to global shipping and the local ports, notably those related to Brexit.

“There is always been a border between Gibraltar and Spain, so we have not seen an impact as a result of Brexit so far,” notes Sergio. “But if or when that changes, GAC is perfectly placed with offices in Gibraltar and Algeciras, as well as being a part of the local shipping associations, to ensure we continue to offer smooth, fast and reliable support to our customers, no matter the challenge.”

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