BASF will invest 40 million this year in Catalonia

The multinational chemical company explains that they would invest more money if the Mediterranean Railway Corridor were already a reality. This infrastructure is being delayed by the Spanish Government and it would enable the transportation of freight on international standard width railway from Catalan ports to Central Europe, and vice versa.

CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

June 7, 2012 02:00 PM

Barcelona (ACN).- The chemical giant BASF announced on Wednesday that it will invest €40 million this year in Catalonia, where it has five plants. In fact, BASF is one of the multinationals present at Tarragona’s chemical hub, together with Repsol, Dow Chemicals or Katoen Natie, among others. Erwin Rauhe, BASF Vice President and CEO of BASF Española, explained that the company would have invested a greater amount of money if the Mediterranean Railway Corridor was already a functioning reality. This infrastructural project, which is not being fully prioritised by the Spanish Government, would link, by international standard width railway, Central and Northern Europe with Catalan Ports and the rest of Spain’s Mediterranean Coast as far as Gibraltar, enabling the transportation of freight by train without making any stop. It would consolidate Barcelona and Tarragona as logistics hubs and as Europe’s import and export gateways to Asia and Africa. If the project was already in place, BASF would immediately invest €20 million to build an inter-modal centre, connecting its Tarragona plant with the Corridor and France.

BASF's Spanish branch had a 17% turnover increase in 2011

Erwin Rauhe explained that BASF Española had a €1.537 billion turnover in 2011, which represents a 17% increase compared to data from the previous year. Rauhe emphasised the “great success” of experiencing such a growth in a year with a deep economic crisis and when raw materials increased their price. Rauhe clarified that the Spanish branch of the German chemical company got a result above the rest of branches worldwide.

The need for the Mediterranean Railway Corridor

BASF VP wanted to underline the German company’s commitment with Spain, with a €40 million investment in 2012. However, Rauhe explained that a greater amount would have been planned if the Mediterranean Railway Corridor was already a functioning reality. Therefore, he asked that BASF’s engagement should be corresponded by the Spanish Government with an effort to build the infrastructure and its connections. According to him, such infrastructures are totally essential to keep BASF’s sustained growth experienced over the last years.

Rauhe explained that when a multinational company such as BASF, with facilities throughout the world, decides to open a new production line for a product, the level of connections and infrastructure is one of the factors deciding in which of the company’s plants the new production line will be developed. Rauhe emphasised that in the case of its plants in Catalonia, not having the Mediterranean Railway Corridor already in place, has an influence on present decisions made by the company.

Postponing a €20 million investment to build an inter-modal centre

BASF Española Director of Production Centres, Joan Maria Garcia Girona, explained that not having the Mediterranean Railway Corridor represents in the current moment postponing a €20 million investment to build an inter-modal centre connecting BASF’s plant in Tarragona with the Corridor, France and the rest of Europe. Garcia Girona said that the Spanish Transport Minister, Ana Pastor, engaged in front of Tarragona’s Chemical sector to have the connection with the Mediterranean Railway Corridor and the French Border by 2015. This infrastructure will represent a turning point for Tarragona’s Port and its nearby industrial areas, as they will be connected by railway with Europe’s main production centres and industrial plants.