As logistics operators look to Barcelona as an alternative port to Marseilles following the strikes that have disrupted French ports this year, the opening of a new rail link between the Spanish port and Perpignan in southern France next month has been warmly welcomed.
“It is of paramount importance that this new rail link between Perpignan and Barcelona works well,” said Alain Leray, deputy managing director at STVA, the vehicle transport subsidiary of SNCF. “We need to transport the volumes out of Barcelona because no one wants to go to Marseilles anymore.”
The new link will remove the need for transhipment at the border between France and Spain and has been welcomed by both the French state rail freight provider Fret SNCF and its Spanish equivalent, RENFE Freight, as well as the international freight forwarders’ association FIATA and the port of Barcelona.
The port is looking for growth in rail transport with a long-term goal of increasing rail’s share of transport in hinterland Spain to 25%.
According to Leray a lot of business is already shifting to Barcelona from southern France but currently there are restrictions for loading/unloading that need to be overcome.
While remaining cautious in the short term because of these restrictions, Leray was confident in the long term: “It is definitely the solution for the future,” he told Automotive Logistics News.