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The track to success

Opinió | 08/10/2008

How Catalan Logistics can achieve its goals

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To start with, the metropolitan area of Barcelona needs a working railway connection with Europe, together with other rail improvements of moderate cost. Eventually, the bid can be completed with airport facilities expanded on the sea, and a single organ of coordination between private and public authorities concerned.

Metropolitan Catalonia needs to overcome its deficits in the field of logistics. This is what Joaquim Coello (former president of Barcelona Port Authority and present manager of a logistics corporation) sustains in his report submitted to The author suggests two ambitious actions for solving the jam: moving the airport into the sea, freeing surface for stocking and handling; and setting up a joint body for all agents involved in logistics, private and especially public (airport, port, Zona Franca consortium, transport operators, etc.).

Coello also calls for modest investments in the rail network, which could lead to great improvements in the Barcelona region. Merchandise stations should be rearranged; adaptations introduced for the circulation of lengthy convoys (750 m); and tracks adjusted to European-standard gauge up to the French border, rather for products than for passengers. The Spanish gauge, which will soon lose primacy due to new high-speed systems, could easily be converted if Spanish authorities approved it –although this does not seem to be the case.

Such measures are vital if Barcelona is to become the main logistics hub of Southern Europe, comparable to the main North Atlantic harbours. In the Catalan case, the absence of navigable rivers place inroads, but above all railroad connections, as the cornerstone of this endeavour.

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