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Barcelona: a port of reference for international logistics

Due to its excellent service, several international shipping companies have made a firm commitment to the Catalan port, designating it as the last stopover to load their ships, especially those destined for long-distance fruit export.

Until recently, Spanish fruit companies saw Europe as the main market focus, but the economic crisis and blockade on deliveries to Russia and other factors have created a new scenario forcing many companies to reassess and diversify their markets.

In this vein, the Port of Barcelona facilitates external trade for companies in the region, as shown by its traffic. Until 2007, the main volume of fresh produce traffic via the Catalan port was in imports, above all from the Southern Hemisphere with citrus at the forefront.

Since then, its fruit traffic in exports has seen great growth, almost reaching the same level as imports. “Exports continue to grow and the Port of Barcelona facilitates this process,” said the head of promotion at the Port Community, Manuel Galán.

With nearly 100 regular lines connecting the Catalan capital directly to over 200 ports on the five continents, Barcelona is the top port in the country for international traffic.

“The quality of Spanish fruit is appreciated in areas such as the Middle East. This is why we have a high frequency of voyages available, whether direct or with stopovers, with a transit time of 12 to 14 days,” Galán said. 

Furthermore, the close collaboration between the Port of Barcelona and the Italian shipping company Grimaldi is reflected in a wide range of short sea shipping services. An example of this is the increased connection between Barcelona and Porto Torres, which Galán said has made Mercabarna one of the main suppliers for Sardinia. 

“Our aim is to position ourselves as the main distribution hub in southern Europe. To do so, in the sphere of fresh produce we have a strategic partner in Mercabarna, the main wholesale market in Catalonia, which enables us to provide a competitive service tailored to our clients,” he said.

Common interests and aims have led to this solid alliance between Mercabarna and the Port of Barcelona, which in turn has led them to participate together in the major fairs in the sector such as Fruit Attraction in Madrid and Fruit Logisitica in Berlin, where they exhibit in a trio along with the Italian shipping company Grimaldi. 

In addition, the Port of Barcelona is working in collaboration with Mercabarna, Barcelona City Council and the company Ecoenergies on a project using the residual cooling generated by the regasification of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to provide industrial cooling for Mercabarna’s refrigeration installations.

“This centralised cold network will enable CO2 emissions to be reduced as well as savings in energy and costs,” Galán said. GNL’s commitment to the Port of Barcelona also includes supplying this fuel to ships, trucks and port machinery in order to offer a competitive, sustainable alternative to their clients, as well as a more environmentally friendly energy solution. 

This article was originally published on page 37 of edition 145 (Sep-Oct 2016) of Eurofresh Distribution magazine. Read more from that issue online here: 

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Port of Barcelona, driver of economic activity in Europe and the Mediterranean

The Port of Barcelona is Spain’s number one in terms of the value of the goods handled.

The strategically located Port of Barcelona is not only Spain’s number one in terms of the value of the goods handled, it is an engine of economic activity for southern Europe. It ranks fourth in the world for cruise ship traffic and is the Mediterranean leader in vehicle traffic.

Barcelona is also among European ports with the greatest potential for growth. Oriented towards the handling of high value added cargo, the port is now in an important growth phase marked by two key aspects: the completion of the largest expansion in its history, and the extension of its range of activities, through the enhancement of its maritime, road and rail connectivity.

“Historically, the commercial development of the Port of Barcelona was based on imports, but in recent years, driven by the local business sector, exports have increased significantly and the situation has reversed,” said Lluís París, the port’s commercial manager.

“In this context, the extension of the Barcelona container terminal (TCB) and the opening in 2012 of the Barcelona Europe South Terminal (BEST) by the Hutchison group, gave us the ability to handle a larger volume of containers and to compete with the major ports of northern Europe. In addition, we have forged alliances with logistics operators and are expanding our short sea routes, linking Spain, Italy and the Mediterranean, with services such as those provided by the Grimaldi group, the leading Italian shippers.”

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The expansion more than doubled the port’s surface area to 1,300 hectares. “The docks and terminals built or enlarged in the new port allow terminal operators to handle bigger ships and largescale cargo,” París said. Furthermore, to provide better services for perishables passing through the port, the new Border Inspection Point (known in Spanish as PIF) has 31 loading docks and other features designed to streamline border control and quality standards compliance requirements.


This report appeared on p67 of edition 135 of Eurofresh Distribution magazine. Read more Logistics news in the section starting on p62.