The Port of Barcelona increased its railway traffic of containers in 2015: successful commitment to intermodality

The railway traffic of containers in the Port of Barcelona, until December 2015, reached 197.366 TEU, representing a growth of 12% compared with 2014. Of this figure, 105.053 TEU (+19%) arrived in the port area by train to be shipped to other destinations, whereas the rest, 92.313 TEU (+6%), arrived by sea to be transported by rail to the port’s hinterland.

These figures bring the container’s railway share of the Port of Barcelona to 14% of the whole containerized external trade, what means that from the total of import and export containers that passed through the port, 14% arrived or left by train.

This share almost increased six-fold in the last nine years; in 2006 this figure was around 2.5%. The aim of the Port Authority is to reach a railway share of 20%.

Increase of the vehicles traffic

Between January and November, the vehicle railway traffic also achieved good results with a total of 240.414 transported units, what means an increase of 27% compared with the same period in 2014, with a recorded 189.118 units. In fact, the volume of vehicles transported by this mode in October 2015, totalling 214.668 vehicles, already exceeded the annual total of 2014, which was of 199.409 units.

The good functioning of the vehicles traffic by train is reflected in its railway share, which reached 29% in the month of December 2015, a figure three points higher to the same month of the past year. The accumulated vehicles railway share at the close of 2015 is expected to be 35%, what would represent an increase of four points compared to the past year (31%).

Although the principal volume of railway traffic is from unloading, with 219.704 units (+20%) destined for the exportation by sea, the important growth of the loaded vehicles destined for the hinterland should be highlighted. With 20.710 transported units this represents a 285% increase compared to 2014.

A big part of these vehicles, 16.519 units have been carried to Europe through UIC gauge tracks, thanks to the installation in 2011 of a third rail track in the conventional line, that places Barcelona as the first Port State to be connected to Europe with international track gauge.

To the growth of vehicles railway traffic has contributed the improvement and the expansion of the infrastructures for these operations, as was the case with the Costa Platform.

The works conducted in 2014 led to a space rationalization that drove the operations more efficiently in the railway terminal of this platform, which currently supports 16% of the vehicles traffic by train at the Port of Barcelona. In this installation cars are unloaded cars and subsequently shipped via short sea shipping  and coastal shipping to destinations in the Balearic and Canary Islands.

A commitment to intermodality

In the last years, the Port of Barcelona has been committed to intermodality through railway, to attract a higher loading volume, to boost the competitiveness of the internal and external trade and to meet the sustainability requirements of the businesses and administrations.

Thus, the investment efforts in railway infrastructures done by the Port and the increasing services offered from the private operators have stimulated the growth of this kind of traffic.

In the other hand, the Port is still waiting for the implementation of the agreement to build the new rail access for goods that will launch the operations of the South extension. This action, with a planned investment of 110 million, of which 50% are coming from the Port of Barcelona and the Spanish Ministry of Development, through the entity Adif, will enable an independent access with sufficient capacity in the enclave’s South area and will promote the railway traffic and mobility of goods, in terms of its connections with the external as well as its internal network.

Source: Cadena De Suministro