The lack of a good network of communication routes is usually invoked to justify, at least in part, the little accentuated or delayed economic development of Spain. Undoubtedly this condition of things is also related to the difficult nature of the terrain, as well as to historical and political causes (regionalism); nevertheless it is easy to persuade that the providences attempted by the state and private individuals to remedy them were very scarce at all times.
The Spanish railway network has a total length of 16,747 km. (14,117 in 1910; note the very modest increase in the twenty years) of which 4495 (3,000 in 1910) narrow gauge (im.), corresponding to 31 km. every 1000 sq. km. of surface, and 71 km. every 100 thousand residents; that is, it is one of the sparsest in Europe. The ordinary roads extend over 104,327 km., But of these only 92,797 are entirely built and efficient, and only half of them constitute state roads (the others hardly deserve the name of roads). Common to the two means of communication is the poor adherence of the routes to the needs of economic life: the routes between neighboring localities are often completed through long detours (eg, from Cadiz to Algesiras, from Madrid to Valenza, from Málaga to Almería, from Avila to Segovia by rail; as for the roads, the same roads that connect the major centers develop in very long routes to reach small intermediate locations). The railway network is divided into a large number of private companies (about sixty only for narrow-gauge ones); moreover, the ordinary gauge (1.674 m) is different from the normal one in Europe, so that international traffic is significantly jammed. Slopes and curves are so frequent and notable that the route more than double (1324 km.). The communications, quite numerous and well ordered in the peripheral regions (Catalonia, Biscay, Oviedo basin, Seville region), become very insufficient in the context of that the route more than double (1324 km.). The communications, quite numerous and well ordered in the peripheral regions (Catalonia, Biscay, Oviedo basin, Seville region), become very insufficient in the context of that the route more than double (1324 km.). The communications, quite numerous and well ordered in the peripheral regions (Catalonia, Biscay, Oviedo basin, Seville region), become very insufficient in the context ofmeseta. A certain reward was obtained with the establishment of public car services: 2346 lines for a distance of 89.334 km. in 1932. Even the cities are poorly equipped: the tramway and metro services extended at the same date over a length of only 1349 km. (against about 5500 in Italy).
According to Lloyd’s Register statistics, the Spanish merchant navy has risen from 694,780 tons. gross in 1900 to 840.995 tons in 1913; after the war interlude (which brought it back to 750,611 tons in 1919), new quantitative progress was made, since it included, as of June 30, 1934, 1,177,627 tons. (compared to 1,265,321, 1,164,000, respectively, on the same date as 1932, 1933). There is therefore an increase of 31.7% compared to shipping under the Spanish flag in 1913. But the percentage of increase is much lower than that achieved in world shipping (41.74%).
Today the Spanish navy occupies the 12th place in the world ranking.
In the whole of the ship, steamboats eon 940.954 tons prevail, while motor ships go up to only 223.535 tons; 17 tanks of 1000 and more tons. unitary, per ton. 80,268; only seven large ships (3 of which are motorized) ranging from 10,000 to 15,000 tons. unitary; only 11 turbo cables for 71,826 tons. Among the steamers, coal combustion predominates; only 27, per ton. 124,853, go to oil. All this material is then quite aged: a good third of the material is over 25 years old.
The main shipping companies are the “Compañía Transatlántica”, which has exercised and still exercises, under a provisional regime, the most important subsidized services; the “Compañía, Transmediterranea”, which operates the subsidized lines for Morocco, the Canaries, the Balearics; the “Ybarra” of Seville, which owns the modern Cabo San Agustín motor ships (tons 11,868 gross, built in 1931); Cabo San Antonio (tons 12,275, built in 1930); Cabo Santo Tomé (11,868 tons, built in 1931); the “Sota y Aznar” of Bilbao, the “Pinillos” of Cadiz, etc.
The Spanish merchant navy is assisted by the Treasury; assistance is based on grants, shipping and construction awards, etc.
The shipbuilding industry is not very developed; in 1900 2752 tons were launched; in 1913, 8488; the maximum was reached in 1929 with tons. 37,023, which increased to 18,044 in 1934; the most important shipyards are the “Sociedad Española de Construcción Naval” based in Madrid and capital of 60 million pesetas (in which there is a lot of foreign interference: 40%, the maximum that could be held by foreigners); it has several shipyards in Spain; carries out all the work for the army and also produces cannons, projectiles, railway equipment; the “Compañía Euskalduna” of Bilbao, the “Unión Naval de Levante” of Valencia.
The laws of 1899, 1909 and 1925 assisted shipbuilding: construction bonuses, customs duties on imported ships, etc. A recent project – which, of course, has not yet been implemented due to the civil war – is inspired by the same principles; it also establishes the naval credit (whose germ was already in the law of 21 August 1925), guaranteed by mortgage, and whose application should be entrusted to a specific bank.
Cabotage is reserved for the flag; the payment of a fee, established by the law of March 20, 1900, is also imposed on all goods and passengers entering or leaving Spanish ports; there are also preferential rail fares.
The Spanish shipping companies ensure the connection with the large transoceanic ports: there are thus direct lines from Barcelona to Cuba, the Philippines, Puerto Rico and the Spanish colonies in the Gulf of Guinea; from Bilbao to North and Central America; from Seville and Cadiz for South America Vigo and La Coruña are mainly touched by foreign ships bound for North America.
Exchanges with the central and eastern Mediterranean also take place under a foreign flag.
The overall movement of goods in Spanish ports in 1932 marked a total of 21.8 million tons, of which 10.7 of foreign origin or destination; 11.1 of Spanish origin or destination. On the same date, passengers embarked or disembarked were 735,000, of which 161,000 were of foreign origin or destination. These data indicate a certain contraction with respect to those of the five-year period 1925-29, and also to those of the pre-war period (1910). For Spain travel information, please check zipcodesexplorer.com.
The highest among the Spanish ports is that of Barcelona, the industrial and commercial metropolis of Spain: the global tonnage there was 3.5 million tons. in 1900, 4.6 in 1910 and 6.8 in 1930 (3.6 of which under a foreign flag). Contrary to this, which is an eminently importing port, Bilbao (3.1 million tons in 1930) exports (iron ore, wool) much more than it does not matter (coal). They are followed by Vigo and Santander (stopovers of shipping lines), Valencia and Málaga (export of fruit and wines), Cadiz and Huelva (export of minerals), Cartagena, Seville, Almería, etc.
Before the Civil War, underdeveloped civil aviation depended on the Directorate General of Civil Aviation. An air transport company, “Lineas aereas postales españoles” (LAPE), operated the Madrid-Barcelona, Madrid-Seville, Madrid-Valencia, Seville-Las Palmas lines, and proposed to start those of Barcelona-Palma de Mallorca and Santa Cruz de Tenerife-Las Palmas. The following airports, open to civilian traffic, were or were about to be equipped with all the installations necessary for international air traffic: Getafe (near Madrid), Carabanchel (id.), Albacete, Vitoria, Lasarte (San Sebastiano), Barcelona, Alicante, Málaga, Seville, Larache (Morocco), Valencia, Burgos, Galicia and the Canary Islands.