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Tarragona’s chemical hub unveils its first intermodal station with international-standard width railway

Tarragona’s intermodal freight station is located within the Bayer factory and it will serve all the companies located in the southern half of the chemical centre. Tarragona is host to Spain’s largest chemical hub, which will be connected by international-standard width railway to Central and Northern Europe once the Spanish Government has built the stretch between this economic centre and Greater Barcelona. This stretch is part of the strategic Mediterranean Railway Corridor, which the Spanish Government has been delaying for years. This main infrastructure will combine a high-speed passenger railway with goods transportation. Once completed, it will connect Gibraltar with Northern Europe via Spain’s Mediterranean ports and industrial centres, including València, Tarragona and Barcelona.

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09 February 2013 05:41 PM

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ACN / Anna Fortuny / Núria Torres

Tarragona (ACN).- Tarragona, which is host to Spain\u2019s largest chemical and petrochemical hub, has unveiled a strategic infrastructure: an intermodal freight station with an international-standard width railway that will enable trains to be loaded directly from the factories and then be sent to Central and Northern Europe without stopping. This will be effective once the Spanish Government has built the stretch between this economic centre and Greater Barcelona. This stretch is part of the strategic Mediterranean Railway Corridor, which the Spanish Executive has been delaying for years, a project that has been included among the European Union\u2019s transport priorities. This main infrastructure will combine a high-speed passenger railway with goods transportation. Once completed, it will connect Gibraltar with Northern Europe via Spain\u2019s Mediterranean ports as well as the main industrial and tourist centres, including València, Tarragona and Barcelona. The day before the station was unveiled, the Spanish Government approved the tender to build a temporary stretch between Tarragona and Greater Barcelona.


Tarragona\u2019s intermodal freight station is located within the Bayer factory and it will serve all the companies located in the southern half of the chemical centre. The station is run by Bertschi, a Swiss logistics company. It cost \u20AC3 million and building was started in 2011. It occupies 18,000 square metres and will enable trains up to 500 metres long to be parked.

Besides this new station, the chemical company BASF and other partners are already working on starting the building of their own intermodal freight station also in Tarragona. BASF\u2019s will be larger that the one unveiled in the Bayer factory, according to the initial plans. Furthermore, Tarragona\u2019s port station will also be adapted to the international-standard width railway and a fourth intermodal station will also be built in the city of Tarragona to serve other economic sectors.

Bertschi\u2019s intermodal station is located within the factory of Bayer Material Science. The factory was unveiled in 1971 and it is the largest of the five Bayer has in Spain. The new terminal has a capacity for 800 containers and, in the future, a bridge crane will be set up and this capacity will be increased to 1,200 containers.

For the time being, while waiting for the Spanish Government to build the missing stretch, trains will circulate using the Iberia Peninsula standard-width railway. Goods will have to switch trains either in Barcelona or in Portbou, on the French border. Bayer\u2019s Director General for Spain and Portugal, Jesús Loma-Ossorio, stated that the new intermodal terminal will improve not only Bayer\u2019s competitiveness but also that of the rest of the chemical centre. \u201CWe will save between 10% and 15% of the road transportation of the goods, which will go by train. This will enable us to reduce time and CO2 emissions\u201D, he stated.

Having an international-standard width railway connection in place with Central Europe is a long-standing claim from Tarragona\u2019s chemical cluster. This industrial centre directly employs 9,600 people. It represents 50% of Catalonia\u2019s chemical industry and 25% of Spain\u2019s. According to the Catalan Government, the connection should be in place by 2015, but only in a temporary way, since the definitive railway will not have been completed.

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  • The new intermodal railway terminal in Tarragona's chemical hub (by A. Fortuny)

  • The new intermodal railway terminal in Tarragona's chemical hub (by A. Fortuny)