Tarragona, Spain (PortSEurope) March 18, 2021 – The Port of Tarragona closed the 2020 financial year positively with a final profit of €740,000 ($885,000), in year when traffic reduced less than expected and the Covid-19 coronavirus crisis. The President of Autoridad Portuaria de Tarragona (APT – Port Authority of Tarragona), Josep M Cruset, said that traffic ended the year down 19.3%, much less than an
initial forecast of 30%. Activity in a pandemic year The Tarragona port has closed 2020 with a total freight traffic of 26.8 million tons with 18.3 million tons (Mt) in liquid bulk, 6.5 Mt in solid bulk, 1.5 Mt in general cargo and 0.5 Mt in other goods. Liquid bulk registered a decrease of only 13.6%, which is mainly crude oil. Energy liquids (4.6 Mt vs 4.9 Mt in 2019) and chemical products (1.46 Mt vs 1.55 Mt in 2019) maintain similar results in the previous year; and butane and propane registered a slight decrease (1.5 Mt vs 1.8 Mt in 2019). Other petroleum products (naphtha, other fuels, etc.) registered an increase, going from 2.23 Mt in 2019 to 2.73 Mt in 2020. Solid bulks registered a decrease of 33.3%, largely due to the decrease in coal and coke traffic (-64.9%) due to the change in European energy strategy to help fight against climate change by reducing emissions of C02. Cereals registered a good performance (4.6 Mt vs 5.7 Mt, in 2019) despite the decrease in imports given that 2020 was a record harvest year for the peninsula with the consequent brake on imports. Fruits increased from 149,827 tons in 2019 to 204,173 in 2020. Chemical products were 220,000 tons vs 241,000 tons in 2019. General cargo presents more positive figures thanks to a greater diversification of goods. Steel products register 324,000 tons (404,000 tons in 2019), vehicle traffic shows a decrease (127,000 vehicles vs 211,000 in 2019), and container traffic remains around 44,000 TEU. Paper pulp maintains results (403,000 tons vs 418,000 in 2019). And the traffic of live animals increases compared to the previous year, going from 239,000 cattle in 2019 to 292,000 heads in 2020. Despite the difficulties that the Port of Tarragona has had to overcome during 2020: the closure of the port for a week due to the storm Glòria, the stoppage of the chemical polygon due to the IQOxe accident, the COVID-19 pandemic, the Repsol’s month-long technical stoppage, the disappearance of coal traffic and a record cereal harvest that has slowed imports. Cruset highlighted the port’s ability to help alleviate the effects of the pandemic with bonuses to port companies worth €3.8 million. The port has practiced a reduction in the occupancy rate and activity rate to reduce the effects of COVID-19 in 2020 worth €1.6 million. To these bonuses must be added the usual bonuses to the merchandise rate and the ship rate to promote certain traffic: €1.5 million; and bonuses for Good Environmental Practices: €700,000. The Port maintains its investment capacity The Port of Tarragona has closed the financial year 2020 with €49.4 million of revenue. A similar figure to that of 2015 and 2016. Last year’s results would still be closer to 2015 or 2016, if the €1.6 million discounts made to port companies to alleviate the effects of the pandemic in the port sector since it would reach €51 million is taken into account. With these results, says Cruset, “the Port maintains its economic strength and its investment strategy.” The 2020 economic result after taxes (EBITDA) is €22.9 million, similar to 2019, and the port continues to maintain great financial strength, since it closes 2020 with a cash flow of €21.32 million (in 2019 it was €23.9 million), it also reduces indebtedness (it goes from €52.1 million to €48 million) and achieves a 97% execution of the investment budget (investments and treasury were €32.8 million in 2020). Cruset has defended the central role of the Port in the local economy, “the Port of Tarragona is an organization that maintains a large with investment capacity to contribute to the economic recovery of the territory” and has reviewed the current status of strategic investments in progress. The main investment, the Logistics Activities Zone (ZAL) with a budget of around €30 million, has all the administrative procedures for its urbanization and the Port is drawing up the executive project and putting out to tender the works to build connections with the network of roads while, in parallel, on the commercial side it is immersed in several implementation processes. The President of the Port has also announced the start of phase 1 of the works of the Guadalajara Intermodal Terminal for the month of May and has reported that the execution project for Phase 2 is currently being prepared. The two phases total €14 million of investment. It has also announced the entry into the final stretch of the processing of the Els Prats contradique construction project included in the Port Master Plan (€65 million) and the end of the works on the Balears dock (€30 million) in the next month of June, fulfilling the planned schedule despite the pandemic. The president of the Tarragona Port Authority (APT) also wanted to announce the completion of the works of the institutional headquarters for the month of May (€5.5 million of investment) and of the new Port Museum for the month of June (€3 million). And it has wanted to value several investments that since its implementation in 2020 contribute to the improvement of port services: the expansion of the railway network (€500,000), the implementation of the fiber optic network (€800,000) and the Agrifood Product Delivery (SEA) which, after 6 months of operation, has already contributed to reducing waiting time by 50 minutes and represents about 30,000 monthly hours of savings. 2021, a turning point for the Port At the end of his presentation, Josep M Cruset stated that “in 2021 it will be a turning point for the Port of Tarragona”, since “the future growth of the Port goes through the enhancement of intermodality and the increase in the volume of traffic of general cargo”. In this sense, Cruset considers that this “is a year of concretions of many projects that will go from paper to reality” and has given as examples the last two milestones achieved by the Port Authority. On the one hand, the entry into service in February of the new weekly Ro-Ro route to the Port of Izmir in Turkey. A service that can currently operate up to 2,000 trucks per month, but with a great capacity for growth if demand demands it. And on the other hand, the presentation of the memorandum of understanding with the company CTC (led by BASF) to operate the Boella Intermodal Terminal and that will multiply by 6 the number of freight wagons operated in the Port, going from more than 20,000 current to 120,000 wagons from 2023. The start of the conditioning works of the La Boella Intermodal Terminal is scheduled for June 2022, once the tender and concession phases of this infrastructure have been passed. Cruset has joined these milestones to others that will coincide in time to affirm that “the port will be in the best conditions to grow in general cargo as of 2023.” Around this date (2023) the entry into operation of the ZAL, the entry into service of the Mediterranean Corridor and the operational start-up of the Guadalajara Intermodal Terminal coincide. 2021, year of acceleration The year 2021 can also mean the acceleration of this strategy. The president of the APT recalled that European funds for resilience and economic recovery can represent a strong boost for the construction of the infrastructure and equipment necessary for the growth of traffic in the port. For this reason, the ‘Cal·lípolis, Next Generation’ project has been presented in coalition with the Vila-seca City Council and with Repsol in the form of Expressions of Interest before the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Ecological Transition, to opt for European funding of €260 million. ‘Cal·lípolis Next Generation’ can turn the Port of Tarragona into a driver of growth, job creation and the economic and social resilience of Camp de Tarragona in key sectors of its economy such as tourism, the chemical industry and logistics . A Port at the service of the territory To end his presentation, Josep M. Cruset wanted to summarize some of the actions that the Port has implemented during 2020 at the service of Tarragona society. The president highlighted the effort in communication and transparency in recent months with better service and attention to the media, with the launch of the ‘Opinion Space’ (participatory social panel) and the launch of another of economic nature, and the increase in information through internet social networks. The year 2020 was also, has continued, the year of approval of the Sustainability Plan – Agenda 2030 with 23 objectives deployed in 82 actions, to contribute to improving environmental sustainability, sustainable growth and social commitment, in line with the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. Some of the milestones of this plan have been the recovery of the Red Natura 2000 space, the purchase of green energy, the placement of biotopes to recover marine fauna and flora, the installation of solar panels on the roof of the new Museum (in the bidding phase) , the dismantling of the cement factory, etc. Finally, the president has highlighted the actions that the APT launched during the most serious months of the State of Alarm offering spaces to health authorities, advancing payments to providers, making spaces available for recreational activities, organizing online activities, exhibition photographic on confinement, etc. Copyright (C) PortSEurope. All Rights Reserved. 2021.