Spanish logistics provider and terminal operator Setram has signed a contract with Gefco to handle the movement of finished vehicles from France to the port of Barcelona. The vehicles, which were previously dispatched from other European ports, will be loaded there for shipment to Algeria.

Around 17,000 Peugeot-Citroën vehicles will be moved each year, all by road. No rail services are planned so far said Gefco.

“Gefco Spain has a close and long term relationship with Setram in Barcelona’s port but also in national and international transport services,” said a spokesperson for Gefco.

"We have shown that Setram's and Gefco's logistics processes, together, are competitive in both the transport of vehicles from Paris to Barcelona and in the handling of them in our terminal," said the commercial director of Setram, Norberto Duarte.

He also said that the agreement would benefit the port of Barcelona’s reputation as a hub port for North Africa and, by extension, the whole of the Mediterranean.

Duarte believes that Algeria compares with both Brazil and Russia in terms of its strategic dimension. In 2011, for example, it imported 400,000 cars. The country currently has a limited domestic manufacturing capability of its own, while imported French cars tend to dominate the market. Last year, French vehicle imports in Algeria grew by 50%.

The port of Barcelona, after having been hit hard by the economic downturn, has nonetheless enjoyed stable volumes of new vehicles, driven by large increases in exports and transhipment.

Gefco in Dubai
In other news, Gefco has set up a new subsidiary in the United Arab Emirates with a view to building overseas and automotive business in the region.

Based in the Jebel Ali free zone in Dubai, Gefco Middle East will be headed by Stefano Pollotti. “Dubai is one of the markets in the region with the strongest growth in logistics activity,” said Pollotti. “An international logistics group must have a base in Dubai.”

In 2011 the automotive sector grew by 20% but in a statement Gefco highlighted the fact that there was currently no automotive specialist to route finished vehicles arriving at Dubai port to final destinations in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and the UAE.

“The Middle Eastern market is incredibly dynamic and growth levels far outstrip those of its occidental counterparts,” continued Pollotti. “We have a clear opportunity to propose our logistics expertise and act as a ‘one-stop-shop’ to a broad customer base across the automotive, industrial, technology, consumer and retail, energy and aerospace sectors. We expect to see our activities grow very quickly,” he said.

The Dubai office was opened at the end of 2012 and will be fully operation in 2013.