Valencia puts its case as 'best connected port' in Spain to London seminar

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PORT of Valencia aims to live up to its position as the largest sea port in Spain and the Mediterranean basin by investing in rail links into France and lowering transhipment costs.

Until last year different rail gauges in Spain and the rest of Europe stymied Spanish efforts to intercept cargo to and from the Far East via Suez, inducing it to take the long way round the Iberian Peninsula and land at northern European ports.

Valencia Port Authority president Rafael Aznar is keen to become the "best connected port in the Spanish port system" by increasing trade flow to Asia already well accommodated by northern Europe ports by being "faster, cheaper and sustainable" and providing "competitive prices."

"Valencia aims to offer the market a global offering taking everything into account, not just tariffs but also cost of operation. This is one of the challenges for the future and we are working on that," Mr Aznar told a London School of Economics seminar workshop, reported the UK's Port Strategy International.

To keep hold of dominance over neighbouring rival port of Castellon, port operators at Valencia have advised to lower costs rather than risk the loss of one million TEU annually.

Also competing for European cargo is Barcelona. While Valencia, which also benefits from a major transshipment trade from Asia to West Africa and North America and is closer to Spain's main Madrid market, Barcelona is much closer to the French border with shorter rail connections to Bordeaux, Lyons and points north.

The port of Castellon has dropped its tariffs 70 per cent to gain some traffic siphoned off to Valencia, which can handle postpanamax vessels of 18,000 TEU, unloading of 3,000-5,000 TEU during one call.

"We have to be able to respond to the increasing extra capacity of ships to remain competitive," he added of the need for a rail link through France which could cut journey time by three to four days from Gibraltar and up into northern Europe.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

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