In 2006 the last grain silos were taken down in Malaga docks and the port turned its sights on leisure activity and cruise traffic.
Not so any more, as port logistic bosses have started to put up twelve new storage warehouses for loose dry cargo in and out of the docks, marking a return to competitiveness for the docks.
The main use for the new storage will be imported animal feed and grain, supplying local farmers in inland Malaga province and Andalucía. The dry weather over the last few years has forced them to buy more imported animal feed , although this is seen as only short-term demand.
In the long term, port bosses have highlighted the growing strength of the area's agrofood industry, especially around Campillos, pushing up demand for imported animal feed. Improved communications and logistics from Malaga into inland Andalucía have also allowed the city's port to win back previously lost business, from Cadiz and Huelva ports for example.
Last year was a record year with high growth in bulk, or loose, cargoes. Cereal imports, for animal feed, for example, grew by 140 per cent.
While this year looks like being slower, volumes are still significantly up on a few years ago. For example, around 600-700,000 tonnes of agrofood bulk cargoes are currently shipped through Malaga, say officials. This year will also be a record year for the export of clinker, a base product of cement, from a factory just east of Malaga city. Some 500,000 tonnes will pass through the docks.