Castellón, Spain (PortSEurope) July 4, 2019 – Autoridad Portuaria de Castelló (APC – Port Authority of Castellon) has hosted an event about rail connectivity in the Spanish Mediterranean arc.
“The ports of the Spanish Mediterranean Arc and the rail connections to its hinterlands”, included representatives of ports from all the autonomous communities that are in the Spanish Mediterranean arc: Andalusia , Murcia, Comunitat Valenciana and Catalonia.
The objective of the conference was to study the investments that are being made from the ports in terms of rail connectivity as large rail freight generators “to get Spain out of last position of the European Union in rail freight transport, and improve thus the competitiveness of the economy”, said the president of the Port Authority of Castellón, Francisco Toledo, said during the inauguration.
He added that the event discussed the improvements needed by the Mediterranean corridor so that the transport of goods is viable and, finally, coordinate the development actions of the Mediterranean corridor together with the ports “so that it becomes a reality as soon as possible.
The round table has been inaugurated by the mayor of Castellón, Amparo Marco; the Minister of Territorial Policy, Public Works and Mobility of the Generalitat Valenciana, Arcadi Spain; the president of FERRMED, Joan Amorós, and the Commissioner for the development of the Mediterranean corridor, Josep Vicent Boira.
The mayor has indicated that the Mediterranean corridor and its union with the ports is “a matter of competitiveness, development and future” and for this it considers “fundamental” the new logistics area that is contemplated in the General Plan for Urban Planning next to the port of Castellón
For his part, the Minister of Territorial Policy, Public Works and Mobility of the Generalitat Valenciana, said that “ports should not be separated from their environment and must move with the society around them in search of growth and quality employment in a sustainable and efficient way”.
The president of FERRMED stressed that the Mediterranean arc is “one of the most dynamic areas in Europe” and has claimed the need for the Mediterranean corridor “for an environmental issue”. In this regard, he recalled that the transport of goods is “responsible for 30% of emissions, so must be promoted rail corridors as an alternative.”
The Commissioner for the development of the corridor has ensured that “we work to make this infrastructure a reality in this term.”
The general director of the Port Authority of Castellón, Ana Ulloa, has highlighted the geostrategic location of the port of Castellón and the evolution experienced in all types of goods. In his speech, he referred to the investments in railway connectivity included in the port’s investment plan, such as the intermodal station, the connection between its two docks and the connection with the Mediterranean corridor.
The three infrastructures will make the port of Castellón among the best connected of the Spanish port system. It is expected that at the end of this year the intermodal station will be tendered once the functional study carried out by the Generalitat Valenciana is completed. The investment is €20 million ($22.6 million).
The tender for the connection between docks by means of retractable bridges is foreseen in the coming months, with an investment of €17 million ($19.18 million). Finally, the construction project for the connection of the port with the Mediterranean corridor is very advanced, and it is expected that this year the co-financing agreement will be signed with the Ministry of Public Works.
The days have served to highlight the investments with own funds that undertake the seven ports present in the conference (Alicante, Almeria, Barcelona, Cartagena, Castellón, Tarragona and Valencia ) in railway connectivity, stations and even in improvement of the general network of railways, for a value close to €400 million ($451.3 million).
In addition, the essential role played by both the Commissioner for the development of the Mediterranean corridor and FERRMED to promote collaboration between ports has been highlighted, in a similar way as the Baltic ports do. This has been expressed by the president of the Port Authority of Castellón, who has closed the conference recalling that Spanish ports pass 80% of Spanish imports and 60% of merchandise is exported. “Therefore, the ports are great load generators”.
The Mediterranean Corridor is the main east-west axis in the Europen Union’s TEN-T Network south of the Alps, running between the south-western Mediterranean region of Spain and the Ukrainian border with Hungary, following the coastlines of Spain and France and crossing the Alps towards the east through Italy, Slovenia and Croatia and continuing through Hungary up to its eastern border with Ukraine.
The corridor primarily consists of road and rail, aside from the Po River, several canals in Northern Italy and the Rhone River from Lyon to Marseille. The corridor is approximately 3000 km long; it will provide a multimodal link for the ports of the Western Mediterranean with the centre of the EU. It will also create an east-west link through the southern part of the EU, contribute to a modal shift from road to rail in sensitive areas such as the Pyrenees and the Alps, and connect some of the major urban areas of the EU with high-speed trains.
The main nodes in Spain are Almeria-Valencia/Madrid-Zaragoza/Barcelona, and being located just north of Valencia, Castellón needs to implement the required infrastructure to ensure the necessary rail connections as soon as possible in order to benefit from the EU-wide connections.
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