10th Anniversary of Hutchison Ports Best

Raquel Sánchez highlights the progress made on the 600-million-euro project for the new southern accesses to the Port of Barcelona

News - 2022.9.8

"The required works are progressing regularly and tirelessly. The fruits are starting to be seen and the forecast is that before the end of the year the basic project will be finished", explained the minister during her speech at the event celebrating the 10th anniversary of Hutchison Ports Best in Barcelona.

The construction of the new southern accesses, which in the words of the minister are essential to achieve the Port of Barcelona's maximum potential, will contribute to doubling the share of goods entering and leaving the infrastructure by train, which currently stands at 15%. With good reason, the objective is to reinforce the railway node that is to be developed in the Catalan port.

Collaboration and consensus

The project to build the southern accesses is an example of collaboration between administrations, given that it has the consensus and involvement of bodies such as the Generalitat, Adif, Puertos del Estado and Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat.

It is also an example of the government's firm commitment to strengthening infrastructure in Catalonia. In this regard, the minister pointed out that this Autonomous Community leads the volume of investment in infrastructures in Spain, with 306 million euros invested in the first half of the year, 50% more than last year.

"I will not deny that we have faced bottlenecks that have led to delays in budget execution. But I can also tell you that we are reversing this situation and that Catalonia has led the first half of the year in the volume of investment in Spain as a whole and has also done so in the port sector", the minister explained.

The head of Mitma stressed that the Port of Barcelona has become established as one of the main driving forces of the Catalan and Spanish economy. "If Spain is today the leader in container traffic in the European Union, it is due to the drive of ports like Barcelona's, which in 2021 experienced growth of close to 20%. Today it can boast that it is one of the main distribution hubs in the Mediterranean", said Raquel Sánchez, who used her speech to highlight the importance of collaboration and consensus between institutions "in the deployment of these infrastructures, which are so necessary to boost our economy".

Boost to the railway

As an example, the minister gave the expansion of Hutchison's Best terminal facilities in Barcelona, work on which began in May, and with which she expects the growing demand for freight traffic to be absorbed. To this effect, the Best rail terminal and Terminal C will form one of the Mediterranean Corridor's most powerful nodes, providing an efficient and sustainable service to the Port, the Zona Franca, the Pratenc industrial estate and the industries of Baix Llobregat and the South of Barcelona.

The promotion of rail-port connections and the modernisation of port terminals is part of the Ministry's DNA, having approved the Mercancías 30 strategy to double the market share of rail freight transport in Spain, which today only represents 5% of land freight transport.

The aim, the minister explained, is to double rail freight traffic to 10% by 2030 as the backbone of multimodal logistics chains. Ports are essential to achieve this as they are the point of origin or destination of more than 50% of rail freight traffic in Spain. "The purpose of the recently approved Strategic Framework of the Port System, in which digitalisation, innovation and sustainability are the key elements, is to light up the new generation of Spanish ports", explained the minister.

Sánchez also reiterated that cooperation between administrations and private initiative, and coordination between Adif and the Port Authorities, is just as important as infrastructures. In the case of the Port of Barcelona, this collaboration has led to the creation of a joint company, Train Port Barcelona, which will operate the Logistics Terminal and the La Llagosta terminal, in addition to the El Morrot and Can Tunis terminals. The minister also pointed out that the Ministry is allocating 1 billion euros from the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan (PRTR) to improving the terminals and boosting rail-port connections.

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