Tarragona’s Port increased its activity by 4.2% in 2012
The Port of Tarragona moved 33 million tonnes of goods in 2012, slowly recovering the goods volume it had before the economic crisis. However it has not yet reached the 36 million tonnes it received in 2007. Tarragona is the second largest Catalan harbour and it is the fourth port with the most activity in Spain. It mostly specialises in bulk transport of solids and liquids, mostly cereal and petrochemical products. Furthermore, last year it enlarged its chemicals dock, reclaiming 18 hectares from the sea. The companies Vopak Terquimsa and CLH have confirmed they will operate from the enlarged dock. In addition, the port wants to attract cruisers and US military ships in the years to come.
Tarragona (ACN).- On Friday, Tarragona\u2019s Port Authority announced that 33 million tonnes of goods had been transported through the harbour facilities in 2012, slowly recovering the goods volume it had before the economic crisis. However the Port of Tarragona has not yet reached the 36 million tonnes it transported in 2007 yet. Tarragona is the second largest Catalan harbour and it is the fourth port with the most activity in Spain. It mostly specialises in bulk transport of solids and liquids, mostly cereals and petrochemical products, since the city is one of the main petrochemical centres in southern Europe. The transport of bulk solids increased by 17.3%, mainly dealing with cereal, feed and flour. The transport of oil grew by 17.9%. However, freight transportation decreased by 16.5%, especially goods moved in containers, which dropped by 21% due to the economic crisis. At the end of the year, the Port of Tarragona posted \u20AC11.99 million in profits, 3.12% less than in 2011. The President of the Port Authority, Josep Andreu, was satisfied with the results considering the current economic context. Andreu explained that in 2013 they are not expecting to grow but they believe they will see a repeat of the results from 2012. In addition, he explained the port wants to attract cruisers and US military ships in the years to come, since they bring many visitors to the city, contributing to the local economy. Furthermore, the port hopes to consolidate the transport of livestock, which started last year. However, the main project for the current year is the consolidation of the enlarged space for chemical products. Last year, the port finished the construction of the new chemical dock, reclaiming 18 hectares from the sea. The companies Vopak Terquimsa and CLH have already confirmed they will operate from the enlarged dock but there is still more space to be allocated.
The Port of Tarragona earned \u20AC11.99 million last year, a drop of 3.12% compared to the 2011 figures despite the 4.2% increase in activity. The reasons for having smaller profits are the increase of the bonus paid to operators and the 9.4% growth of amortizations. In 2012, the port invested \u20AC34.5 million, mostly used to pay part of the enlargement of the chemical dock and the first phase of the Intermodal Railway Terminal. This railway terminal is essential for the port\u2019s future, as it will enable goods to be transported by train and directly uploaded or offloaded from the boats. The trains arriving at the port will have an international-standard width and via the future Mediterranean Railway Corridor they will link Tarragona\u2019s Port with Central and Northern Europe, making the Catalan harbour a gateway for continental exports and imports.
The President of the Port Authority explained that in the current year, they want to end the administrative procedures so they are able to use 100 hectares of land in Vila-Seca (next to Tarragona) and transform the area into a Zone for Logistics Activities (ZAL), which will assist the container traffic. \u201CIt is a priority for the container activity, which cannot be decreased by a lack of infrastructures\u201D, stated Andreu. In this vein, he also explained that in 2013 the second phase of the Intermodal Railway Terminal will be built, representing a \u20AC25 million investment. In addition, Andreu also asked the Spanish Government to build the A-27 road \u201Cat least until Valls\u201D (a town some 20 km West from Tarragona), as otherwise the port may risk losing competitiveness.
Tarragona\u2019s Port wants to diversify its market and not be so dependent on petrochemical products, which currently make up 60% of the port\u2019s goods transportation. The harbour\u2019s Authority wants to foster container traffic and make the most of the container terminal unveiled three years ago. The objective for 2015 is to reduce the share of the petrochemical products to 50% of the total goods transported through the harbour. Andreu explained they are also working to increase the transport of cars, to recover the transport of fresh fruit and consolidate the harbour as a hub for paper pulp.
Another sector Andreu wants to promote is cruise ships, although he insisted that the port\u2019s main activity \u201Cis and has to be the industrial one\u201D. However, despite the industrial focus, Andreu believes that there is also room for the port to become a stop for cruise ships sailing along the Mediterranean Sea. Tour operators would likely be interested in allowing their clients to discover Tarragona\u2019s Roman Ruins \u2013 which are considered a Humanity World Heritage by UNESCO \u2013 and the Costa Daurada, plenty of sunny beaches and amusement resorts such as PortAventura theme park and the new Barcelona World, which will host 6 theme parks, casinos, golf courses and other attractions.
In addition, Andreu also explained that they are still in talks with the Spanish Government to propose that Tarragona becomes a regular stop for North-American military ships. Despite the political controversy the issue has generated, Andreu explained that Tarragona\u2019s Port is already hosting US military ships from time to time. He also said that harbours such as Cartagena (in Murcia) and Palma de Mallorca host them regularly. The President of the Port Authority believes that the arrival of such boats will bring money to the local economy, since the ships would have to be supplied and sailors may visit the city and neighbouring locations.