Mercazaragoza starts direct sea-rail connection
May 7, 2007
Mercazaragoza has inaugurated direct sea-rail connection from the Maritime Terminal of Zaragoza (tmZ) to the Port of Barcelona, which will encourage the growth of cost-competitive international maritime trade of goods originating from the Ebro valley. The inauguration ceremony for the new rail freight handling facility of the TMZ was attended by numerous authorities, most notably by the President of Aragon, Marcelino Iglesias, the Mayor of Zaragoza, Juan Alberto Belloch, the Chairman of TMZ, Carlos Pérez Anadón, the Chairman of the Port Authority of Barcelona, Jordi Valls, as well as various government advisors. tmZ was launched in 2001 as an initiative by Mercazaragoza, the Port of Barcelona, private investors and supporters of the Government of Aragon, with the aim of boosting international maritime trade from the Ebro valley region. tmZ offers shippers in Aragon and the Ebro valley the same international maritime trade services and guarantees as the Port of Barcelona. The aim of the Zaragoza-Port of Barcelona direct rail connection is to reach a volume of 900 trains annually, each with an average of 45 containers. The intention is to maintain the level of transportation of goods by road at around 60,000 TEUs (twenty foot equivalent unit container) annually, whereas rail transport will increase from 30,000 to 50,000 TEUs/yr in only four years. As well as creating intermodality, i.e. the introduction of new transport alternatives as an alternative to road transport, the launch of this initiative will transform Mercazaragoza into a great foodstuffs source market, not just an important destination market. Within Mercazaragoza’s zone of influence, enough foodstuffs to supply for 12 million people are produced, and 20 million people can be reached from its distribution epicentre. From now on, these products will be able to compete in the international market with lower costs resulting from the use of rail and ship transport to other countries. The president of the Government of Aragon, Marcelino Iglesias, outlined that tmZ will transform Zaragoza into the Ebro valley’s food and agriculture industry’s logistics centre of excellence, as well as into the principal rail strategic point in northern Spain and the south of Europe. He emphasised that Aragon is moving away from its status as a peripheral region and is transforming into a central logistics space linking the large populations of Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia, Bilbao and the south of France. The Mayor of Zaragoza and Chairman of Mercazaragoza, Juan Alberto Belloch, explained that the creation of a “seaport” within a city was a “very ambitious project” which has met the region's goal to diversify towards distribution and logistics and to fulfil its “supraregional” vocation. The chairman of tmZ, Carlos Perez Anadon, disclosed that the great demand generated by this initiative means that the facilities will soon have to be extended. The rail freight handling facility of the Zaragoza Maritime Container Terminal was constructed with a budget of 4.5 million euros, covering a surface area of 40,000 metres squared with 2,000 metres of tracks (1,000 metres in both directions) to ease the loading and unloading of goods. The Zaragoza-Port of Barcelona direct rail connection will be run by a newly formed operator, TMZ Services, in which the major logistics operators will participate: the Chinese multinational Hutchinson, and the Spanish TCB, Comsa and Renfe. The Zaragoza Maritime Container Terminal, whose main shareholder is Mercazaragoza, was founded with a social capital of 600.000 euros and will shortly undertake an expansion of 24 million euros. Photo: The authorities that launched the first train that departed from tmZ on the 27th April, from left to right: D.Jordi Valls, Chairman of APB; D. Marcelino iglesias, President of the Government of Aragon, D. Juan Alberto Belloch, Mayor of Zaragoza; y D. Carlos Perez Anadon, Chairman of tmZ.