International trade and shipping in particular are undergoing profound changes. The growing weight of Asian economies and the so-called emerging countries are increasing trade flow between Europe and Asia, affording greater prominence to the Mediterranean as a gateway to Europe.
In the port sector, the entry into service of container ships with a capacity for over 19,000 TEUs, the appearance of shipping alliances – which monopolise more than 80% of the global market share – market volatility, and the concentration of large-scale operations in the best prepared ports opens the door to a scenario of increasing competitiveness.
After analysing this scenario, the Port of Barcelona passed its III Strategic Plan for 2015-2020, which revolves around three large axes – growth, competitiveness and sustainability – and has the target of “becoming the main Euro-regional hub in the Mediterranean in competition with the ports in Northern Europe”.
By 2020 this strategic aim must have been materialised in specific goals, such as reaching 70 million tonnes of cargo or 3 million containers. For this to be possible it will be necessary for 50% of containerised cargo handled to have its origin or destination outside Catalonia (as opposed to the current 25%) and, therefore, for the Port’s hinterland to extend beyond 600 km and reach 1,200 km.
The Port is well aware that today competition is produced between logistics chains rather than between companies. As a result, it must provide efficient, competitive services adapted to the needs of its customers. To achieve this, the involvement of all port activity agents (terminals, shipping companies, logistics operators, freight forwarders, administrations, etc.) is necessary.
For the Port, growth is not an aim in itself but rather a source of wealth creation for the enclave. The more than 100 regular shipping lines that connect it with 300 ports all over the world, the full range of logistics services, and the network of intermodal connections, with their hinterland, make Barcelona a highly competitive gateway to the global market.
At the Port of Barcelona we have taken on this role – being the main tool for the internationalisation of our customers – and we are going to continue to work hand in hand with the Port Community as a whole in order to offer the best solutions adapted to the needs of our customers.
President of the Port of Barcelona
Vice-President of Barcelona-Catalonia Logistics Centre