June: CIRCULAR 11A/2001


The port of Barcelona has trebled its volume of containers and has multiplied by ten the number of cruiser passengers during the last ten years. There is a project of development of the port of Barcelona called “Pla Estrategic del Port de Barcelona 1998-2010” (Strategic Plan for the Port of Barcelona 1998-2010), which expects to duplicate the port’s actual surface and also duplicate the volume of traffic. This project is fully supported by the Ministry of Transport. The configuration of the port of Barcelona will therefore change radically in year 2010, when the constructions phases will have finished.

The previsions of the Port Authority of Barcelona for the year 2015 are to reach 1,300 hectares of surface, duplicate the volume of passengers and duplicate the volume of cargo. The development of this infrastructure is expected to bring to the port of Barcelona a range of a million of passengers, 60 million tons of cargo and 3.5 millions of Teus per year.

In order to have an idea of the present situation at the port of Barcelona, the statistics for year 2000 showed:

  • 9,200 vessels called to Barcelona
  •  570,000 passengers passed through Barcelona
  • 29,650,000 tons of cargo were moved

This statistics show that for the year 2000 a total of 17,450,000 tons of general cargo were moved within the port. Also there is a big movement of liquids (a total of 8,900,000 tons during year 2000) and of bulk cargo (a total of 3,300,000 tons during year 2000).

The Port of Barcelona has already started to develop its infrastructure with the building of a second narrow mouth for the fishing and the sports vessels to allow them sail from the port using a different mouth from the one used by the Merchant vessels. Last year the elevate bridge “Porta d’Europa” was also completed: it crosses the port sea allowing cars and trucks to move from one side to the other of the port terminals. The development of the two terminals, Moll Adossat (general cargo and ro-ro) and the inflammables terminal, has been recently completed.

The developments projected by the Port of Barcelona also include:

  • Deviation of the river Llobregat two kilometres to the south to gain more hectares.
  •  Wining 380 hectares for terminals including the construction of the third private container terminal.
  • Construction of the external berths.
  • Connection of the Spanish railway system of gauges with the European allowing a direct access from any point of Europe to the port terminals.
  • Development of a highway to allow a better and faster access to the port terminals.
  • The Logistic Activities Zone, ZAL (“Zona de Actividades Logísticas”), will increase its actual surface of 65 hectares to 150 hectares. This area is inside the port and many companies related to the international trade have established their offices and warehouses. The ZAL provides to the established companies the most advanced technologies and a wide range of services in order for those companies to offer a high quality service.

Following the “Pla estratègic del Port de Barcelona 1998-2010” the port of Barcelona is expecting to widely grow and become the logistic key point for the South of Europe, North of Africa and the Mediterranean.

The previsions are that by year 2006 the external berths should be finished, and already 60 hectares should be operative for the new container terminal, which will continue to increase according to the traffic demand.

From all the above, we can expect that the port of Barcelona will develop and grow very fast bringing more business to the country. The need for reliable companies to assist the different operators calling to Barcelona will be of much importance, as the more business the port of Barcelona brings, the more assistance will be needed from service providers. Correspondents should never be complacent that they have a monopoly of the business and they will only have the business if they do it well. Operators, who deserve to know what services new correspondents coming into the market can provide compared with the existing correspondents, will be able to make a valid comparison between them. Anybody coming in and offering a better service then they can deserve to take some business in the interest of a “vibrant and competitive market”.

Yet, the port of Barcelona is not the only port having these expectations of growth. The port of Valencia is also growing very fast. Their statistics for year 2000 show a total of 24,906,415 tons of cargo moved. The Port Authority in Valencia is also putting up a development plan to increase its surface and offer a better service to all the operators. Both ports are in a strong competition in order to become the strongest ports on the Mediterranean coast. However, the most important port in Spain as far as container traffic movements are concerned is the port of Alegeciras, mainly due to its strategic location between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic.