€100 million investment to create a rail connection to the Port of Barcelona
Barcelona (ACN).- This Wednesday, the Catalan Government, the Port of Barcelona and the Spanish Ministry for Public Works and Transport signed an agreement to invest up to €100 million in the construction of a railway to the Port. The Catalan President, Artur Mas, said the investment corrects a “historical mistake”. “It was left to the end what should have been done at the beginning. It was a mistake to deny a rail connection from the biggest exporting economy of the Iberian Peninsula with Europe”, he added.
Mas insisted Catalonia has waited for a long time to get the investment for rail access to the Port of Barcelona, one of the most urgently needed infrastructures in the country. He said the investment will greatly benefit the “real economy”, especially exports, which are currently boosting growth. The Catalan President argued that the rail access to the Port is part of the wider Mediterranean corridor project, one of the priorities of his government and the European Union.
Commenting on the fact that the works will be paid for by both the Spanish government and the Port itself, Mas said that Catalans “are already used to being the first to pay differently to the rest”. “But this only makes sense if the same model is applied to other ports in Spain”, he said.
The port plays a large role in the Catalan economy by propelling industrial and commercial activities of the surrounding area. It has a customer portfolio of over 3,000 companies which represent a turnover of €300 billion. The port directly employs over 13,000 people, which added to the indirect employment as a result of port activities creates a total of 32,000 jobs, or 0.9% of Catalonia’s job market. During the first half of 2013 the port increased its container export levels by 12% on 2012 to 276,544 TEU’s (twenty-foot equivalent units), the highest amount ever achieved.
The Port of Barcelona is Europe’s most popular cruise line destination and provides a significant boost to Barcelona’s tourist sector with over €100 million being invested in the past 10 years in improvements to cruise liner infrastructure. The first half of this year was particularly successful with 1,040,823 passengers docking in the port, which represents a 15% increase on the same period of 2012.