transport

The Mediterranean Railway Corridor, a key, long-awaited infrastructure

March 27, 2017 06:00 PM | ACN / Sara Prim

The so-called Mediterranean Railway Corridor, a long-awaited piece of infrastructure which is set to transport freight and passengers non-stop from Gibraltar to Central Europe along the Mediterranean coastline, is one of the most representative examples of Spain’s lack of investment in Catalonia. Despite being essential not only for the Spanish economy but for the entire European economy as well, its construction has been repeatedly delayed. Even the European Commission has called for “cooperation between administrations” to implement the Corridor, which is regarded as a key infrastructure for Europe. Moreover, the delays in the construction of the Corridor are affecting private investment, the Catalan Government has warned. According to Catalan Minister for Planning and Sustainability, Josep Rull, the pending business investments are worth €300 million, of which €20 million corresponds to an investment from the German multinational Basf, which announced it will expand one of its plants in Tarragona.

Spain's investment in Catalan transport infrastructure falls to lowest level in 20 years

November 3, 2016 07:10 PM | ACN

Barcelona’s Chamber of Commerce reported this Thursday that 2015 was the worst year in the historical data series, which dates back to 1997, in the rate of state investment in the transport infrastructure in Catalonia. Specifically, the Spanish Government executed only 59% of the budgeted investment in Catalonia, below the average of all the Spanish Autonomous Communities, which stood at 72%. The president of the Chamber, Miquel Valls, lamented in a press conference that the low degree of implementation of investment occurs on an initial budget which is already relatively small for Catalonia. Last year, the Spanish executive budgeted for the region 9.9% of total state investment in transport infrastructure, despite the Catalan GDP accounting for 18.9% of the state’s overall GDP.

Metro strike causes chaos in Barcelona

May 30, 2016 03:12 PM | ACN

Barcelona commuters have endured this Monday long queues and delays due to a new strike by employees of the city’s metro. Despite the minimum services agreed by the Catalan Ministry of Work, platforms have been especially crowded during peak time this Monday morning, with some trains so full that no more passengers could be taken on board. Metro workers have called a week of strikes between the 30th of May and the 2nd of June, with an interruption in service expected on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday on the metro, and on Friday in the bus service.

Puigdemont urges Spain to listen to Europe and promote the Mediterranean Corridor

May 25, 2016 06:41 PM | ACN

Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont celebrated the “consensus” that the construction of the Mediterranean Railway Corridor has amongst the political, social and economic agents in Catalonia and also amongst the regional governments involved in the construction, such as those of Valencia, the Balearic Islands and Murcia. However, he urged Spain’s executive “to listen” to their demands and also to Europe’s warnings and promote thislong-awaited piece of infrastructure which is set to transport freight and passengers non-stop from Gibraltar to Central Europe. Indeed, the European Court of Auditors reported on Tuesday that the EU “had not been effective in enhancing rail freight transport” and that the targets for “the number of freight trains and the tonnage of goods transported” on the section between Spain and France, which has still to be completed, “are far from being achieved”.

Railway access to Barcelona’s port to be completed by 2018

March 30, 2016 06:29 PM | ACN

After more than 10 years of negotiations between the Catalan government and the Spanish Ministry for Transport and many changes on the route, the railway connection to Barcelona’s port will be a reality in two years’ time. The final project will cost €104 million and will be 50% funded by Port de Barcelona and the Spanish Ministry for Transport. The railway connection to Barcelona’s Port has been long-awaited by the Catalan government, as 13% of the containers and 30% of the cars that pass through the port are transported by train. The acceleration of this connection emphasises the need to start the construction of the Mediterranean corridor, one of the government’s main goals in terms of infrastructure, which is set to transport freight and passengers non-stop from Gibraltar to Central Europe.

Fire in abandoned station left Barcelona without trains throughout the morning

February 9, 2016 02:34 PM | ACN

The short-distance train network has been interrupted this morning in the centre of Barcelona due to a fire in an abandoned station in the centre of the Catalan capital. Although the fire was extinguished by 7 am CET this Tuesday, the smoke continued to spread throughout the city’s train tunnels for hours, affecting six stations, more than 210 trains, metro line 1 and nearly 100,000 passengers, according to the Catalan Government. An accumulation of waste in the abandoned station is most likely to have been the cause of the fire. Today’s chaos is to be added to a long list of problems which have occurred on the network during the last decade, mainly due to a lack of investment in infrastructure by the Spanish Government.

El Prat Airport registers a record 39.7 million passengers for 2015

January 13, 2016 12:26 PM | ACN

39.7 million passengers used Barcelona’s El Prat Airport facilities this 2015, 5.7% more than last year. This figure sets a new record for El Prat, which is the second busiest airport in Spain, only beaten by Madrid Barajas. December was also a historic month, with 2,604,772 passengers whom passed through El Prat. The highest figure was registered in August 2015, were nearly 4.4 million passengers used El Prat Airport’s facilities. The passenger group which grew the most was international travellers, especially the Latin American market, which registered a 21.7% increase in comparison to last year. Regarding the number of operations registered, there were 288.878 take-offs and landings in 2015, which represents 1.8% more than in 2014. 

El Prat Airport registers its best October ever

November 11, 2015 07:14 PM | ACN / Sara Prim

3,621,777 passengers used Barcelona El Prat Airport's facilities this October, 7.5% more than in the same month last year. This figure sets a new record for El Prat, which is the second busiest airport in Spain, only beaten by Madrid Barajas. Most of the users whom passed through El Prat were international passengers, which registered a 9.1% increase compared to October 2014, while the number of national passengers rose to 3.3%. Regarding the number of operations, there were 25,349 flights in October, which represents 1% more than in the same month last year, and from January to October 248,358 operations were registered in El Prat. The number of flights to/from Latin America grew the most, by 47.5%, followed by those to/from North America (up 21%) and the Middle East (up 18.8%). Cargo transportation also grew, increasing by 15.3% and totalling 11,070 tons. In terms of cargo, routes from outside the EU saw the biggest growth, 30.6%. 

Freight traffic in Port de Barcelona grew by 20%

October 15, 2015 04:17 PM | ACN / Sara Prim

From January to September this year, Barcelona's port transported 100,666 UTI, the transport unit which equals a lorry, a platform or a trailer. The highest increase was registered in those services connecting the Catalan capital with Italian destinations, in particular Genoa, Civitavecchia, Livorno, Savona and Porto Torres. The rest of the goods transportation corresponded to short sea shippings, which are the connections between Barcelona and the North of Africa, mainly Tangier. Exports from January to September were higher than imports, and grew by 9% in comparison to the same period last year.Vehicle transportation continued to grow and registered 18% growth in the first nine months of the year, and 10,000 lorries have been diverted from road to maritime routes, according to data published this Thursday by Port de Barcelona for January to September.

New record for Barcelona El Prat airport: Almost 4 million passengers in September

October 13, 2015 04:13 PM | ACN / Sara Prim

3,974,609 passengers used Barcelona El Prat airport in September, which represents a 4.6% growth in comparison to the same month last year. Moreover, this figure sets a new record for a month of September, according to Spanish public airport operator and air navigation service provider AENA, and pushes the total number of passengers using Barcelona El Prat airport to30,695,805 since the beginning of the year. However, El Prat was not the busiest airport in Spain; in September Madrid Barajas registered the highest number of passengers, 4,331,642, which is 11.7% higher than for the same month last year. The situation in Girona and Reus airports in Catalonia contrast with El Prat, as both continue to lose nearly 20% of their total number of passengers. 

Port of Barcelona launches new route to West Africa and increases regular lines to America and Asia

August 14, 2015 09:35 PM | ACN

The Port of Barcelona has been opening new regular routes for container transportation in the last few months, improving the connections with strategic markets in the Americas, Asia, West Africa and the Mediterranean area. An example of this trend is the new route served by MNM African Shipping Line, a company founded this year based in the port of Tanger-Med and working for transport and logistics firms from Morocco and Nigeria. This new line will be using vessels with a 2,500 TEU container capacity to connect the Catalan capital with major ports in North and West Africa such as Tangier, Casablanca, Agadir, Nouakchott, Dakar, Conakry, Lagos, Tema and Abidjan, covering an area with some 300 million people.

Barcelona El Prat Airport registers its best July ever, with almost 4.3 million passengers

August 12, 2015 10:17 PM | ACN

The main Catalan airport broke another of its own records by serving 4,257,534 passengers last month, which is its best July ever and a 5.7% increase on July 2014 data, according to information released on Wednesday by the Spanish Airport Authority (AENA). Looking at the cumulative passenger figures, Barcelona El Prat has hosted 22,321,477 travellers in the first 7 months of the year, a 5% growth on the same period of 2014. In the last few years, the airport has increased its passenger figures significantly while increasing its number of short- and medium-haul routes, as well as its intercontinental destinations. Indeed, the number of intercontinental passengers in July has seen a 19.3% growth compared to the same month of 2014. The number of passengers on intra-European Union flights increased by 9.7% in the same period, and domestic flight passengers grew by 5.1%. The only negative figure was the decrease in the number of travellers on European but non-EU flights, which decreased by 3% due to the drop-off in Russian tourism.

Singer-songwriter and anti-Franco activist Lluís Llach to head pro-independence unitary list in Girona

July 24, 2015 08:37 PM | ACN

Lluís Llach, one of the most famous Catalan musicians and one of the main voices against Franco's dictatorship, will  top the pro-independence unitary list running in the Girona Province in the forthcoming Catalan elections, which should become a 'de facto' referendum on independence. In the Tarragona Province, the 'Junts pel Sí' pro-independence list ('Together for the Yes') will be topped by economics professor Germà Bel, an expert on infrastructure. The list groups together Liberal, Social-Democrat, Green, and Christian-Democrat politicians, as well as many independents and representatives from civil society. It will officially start the independence process if they win the elections and pro-independence parties obtain an absolute majority in the Catalan Parliament. The list is topped by former Eco-Socialist Member of the European Parliament, Raül Romeva, who is running in Barcelona Province.

El Prat Airport to continue growth with record figures and new route between Barcelona and Sao Paulo

July 13, 2015 07:52 PM | ACN

LATAM Airlines Group will operate from El Prat Airport starting in October with a new route running between Barcelona and Sao Paulo through the TAM airline. Three weekly direct flights will be offered, in hopes of reaching 60,000 passengers a year. According to LATAM Airlines CEO, Rodrigo Contreras, the company chose Barcelona because they consider it "a strategic market in Europe," both for the growth of Catalan tourism in Brazil as well as for the Catalan capital as a tourist destination. In this sense, Contreras said Barcelona is the top Spanish destination chosen by Brazilian travellers and the fifth most popular in Europe for business trips and events. The addition of this flight is a continuation of an upward trend for El Prat, which recorded a 4.8% increase in passengers from January through June compared to the same period in 2014, including a 2.7% rise for the month of June.

International Logistics and Material Handling Exhibition kicks off in Barcelona with 550 firms

June 9, 2015 10:13 PM | ACN

The 17th edition of the annual International Logistics and Material Handling Exhibition (SIL) kicked off on Tuesday in Barcelona and will be on until Thursday 11th June. Held at Fira de Barcelona's Montjuic venue, the show will host more than 550 companies (45% international) presenting about a hundred innovations for the first time. The event is the only one of its kind taking place in Spain and the second-biggest in Europe. During the opening ceremony, SIL's President, Enrique Lacalle, pointed out that the logistics sector had not been severely hit by the crisis and now "is giving good news" with a4% rise in corporate turnover expected for 2015. In addition, the nature of the exhibition reflects the character of the hosting city: the Catalan capital's port has the largest logistics concentration of southern Europe and the Mediterranean within a radius of 5 Km and also has a geostrategic location. Finally, the main roads and railway connecting the Iberian Peninsula with the rest of Europe pass through Greater Barcelona.