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Call for Spanish port reforms to be speeded up

Barcelona port president Mercè Conesa says the Spanish ports industry urgently needs "a new governance model that will allow us to have the same tools as other European ports"

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Call for Spanish port reforms to be speeded up

Mercè Conesa made her remarks during a speech she made at the port’s 150th anniversary celebrations. Puertos del Estado [the national ports agenccy], she said, needs to speed up approval of the new Strategic Framework of the Port System because this is "fundamental to our ability to continue creating prosperity, which is the great challenge facing ports."


As regularly reported in WorldCargo News, the Spanish have been trying to reform port governance laws, including the crucial stevedoring company model, in order to bring them into line with EU laws. However, uncertainty over whether the new model is itself non-compliant with EU law, as well as various changes of government, have greatly delayed matters.


In other remarks, Mercè Conesa that the Port of Barcelona is working hard to ensure it is ready to meet future requirements. This includes ensuring fast and efficient connections with the hinterland to respond to the needs of the logistics chain; addressing energy transition; facing up to digital transition as a disruptive element of service improvement and "working in consensus with the port community and in harmony with the area in which we are located."


The port is creating new rail and road land accesses "which are so long overdue," and has launched the process for electrification of wharves (for cold-ironing), the introduction of renewable energy and the use of environmentally-friendly fuels, and is working in the field of digitalisation to become a smart port.


Mercè Conesa also requested dialogue as a way to overcome the current "political and socially complex situation" in Catalonia, referring to the worsening relations between and the region and the national government in Madrid.


And she stressed the Port of Barcelona’s key role as an economic driver. "The port handles 25% of Spain’s maritime foreign trade and 74% of Catalonia’s. Each year, the port receives "more than 9,000 ships from the most far-flung places on the planet…More than 100 regular lines operated by more than 50 shipping companies connect us with 210 ports on all the continents."

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