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Key industries


The agri-food industry has a long tradition in Cantabria, which impacts the region’s GDP.

Agri-food comprises two main sectors:

- Canned fish: the largest semi-preserved sector in Spain.

- Beverage manufacturing: including significant dairy product.

There is a strong presence of other agri-foods in Cantabria as well, including other fish products, cocoa and coffee, and industrial baked goods and bread.

Environmental/renewable energy

 As a coastal area, Cantabria has become innovative in tidal and wave power.

Cantabria's Environmental Hydraulics Institute (IH Cantabria) has over 60 researchers and specialists in this field working with the Oceanographic and Coastal Engineering Group and the Submarine Emissaries and the Environmental Hydraulics Group, allowing for cutting-edge capacity development.

The Hydraulics Institute's Coastal and Ocean Basin facility is in the area around the Scientific and Technological Park of Cantabria and is the largest scientific infrastructure of its kind in Europe for studying estuarine dynamics in large scale technological and built infrastructures.

Cantabria is also a benchmark in the development of new technologies in wind power, particularly offshore projects.

Automotive parts industry

Companies that deal in every part of the automotive industry value chain are found in Cantabria.

There is one manufacturer of finished vehicles, several Tier1, Tier2 and Tier3 suppliers, and various industry support services companies, mainly logistics, commercial distribution and spare parts. This is one of the most relevant industries in the region.

GIRACantabria automotive industry cluster:

Biotechnology and healthcare

Cantabria is a Spanish region with one of the lowest incidences of Covid-19.

A cluster of life science companies in the healthcare industry is being created to bring together all the links in this value chain.

Furthermore, industry leaders in Cantabria are affiliated with the Marqués de Valdecilla University Hospital – one of the largest and most prestigious medical centers in Spain –, the IFIMAV (Marqués de Valdecilla Research Institute), and the University of Cantabria and Biotechnology Institute, a benchmark in scientific fields.

New technologies

 A cutting-edge industry in the region, fostered by the Cantabria Science and Technology Park and the upcoming inauguration of the Business Accelerator.

Companies in the ICT industry offer a whole range of solutions. Software developers, hardware distributors, information systems consultants and integrators, solutions and communication infrastructure providers are in the region, as well as new industry 4.0 applied technology development, artificial intelligence and machine learning.

The high level of training and low employee turnover make the region a preferred destination of the industry.