Northern Spanish port Santander expects to increase its annual finished vehicle throughput to 500,000 units this year, port authority president Jaime González has revealed.

Santander is Spain’s third busiest port in terms of finished vehicles. Last year, it handled 460,991 units, putting it behind Barcelona with 886,980 units and Valencia with 686,686 units.

González is to take charge of a ceremony on September 7th to celebrate the arrival of the sixth millionth car to be handled there. The event will take place on Raos Quay, where all the main finished vehicles facilities are concentrated.

In August, Santander received a call from the Höegh Trapper, the fourth of six post-Panamax car carriers that Höegh Autoliners expects to put into service this year. The vessel, which can transport up to 8,500 vehicles, was inbound from the port of Southampton in the UK on a route linking Europe with South Africa and Australia. At Santander, it took 1,200 finished vehicles onboard from various manufacturers.

Reinforcing its commitment to the automotive sector, the Santander port authority earlier this year renewed its Service Quality Certificate for New Vehicles Traffic, confirming it met all the requirements for the sector as endorsed by the Spanish Association of Lorry and Automotive Manufacturers (ANFAC) and the National Ports Authority (Puertos del Estado).

Ports seeking this accreditation have to demonstrate that they have sufficient infrastructure in place, as well as high service flexibility and low levels of customer waiting time. They also have to show the lowest levels of damage to vehicles being handled. Santander was the first port in Spain to acquire the certificate back in 2004.