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Port of Barcelona to extend its rail infrastructure

The Port of Barcelona together with the city councils, the international airport El Prat, the Department of the Vice-Presidency, Digital Policies and Territory and drafting body Barcelona Regional, have given a progress report on the Urban Master Plan (UMP) for the Intermodal Logistics Terminal, a document that will guide the upcoming rail expansion in the southern area of the Spanish port.

The infrastructure envisioned in the UMP, together with the existing BEST rail terminal on Prat wharf and Terminal C, will form a six-terminal rail node serving the Spanish Port with the surrounding area, and particularly, with Barcelona's Zona Franca Tax-Free Area, the Polígon Pratenc Industrial Estate and the industries in the municipality of Baix Llobregat and south of Barcelona.

This node occupying 680,000 m² will serve not just maritime-land and land-maritime traffic, but also land-land traffic, according to the port.

Moreover, the completion of this infrastructure with new land accesses to the Port of Barcelona and the 10 railway sections of the Barcelona-Zaragoza axis, is expected to increase the number of containers entering or leaving the port by train, helping the port reach its environmental and efficiency goals.

President of the Port of Barcelona, Damià Calvet stated that the economy of Catalonia needs a more efficient, competitive and sustainable Port of Barcelona, and pointed out that "with this urban planning instrument, we are laying the groundwork for the railway and road accesses and the railway node."

In the last 10 years, the Barcelona Port's intermodal strategy has led to 2.8 million fewer truck journeys, while in 2020 alone, rail traffic in the port area kept 175,000 trucks off the road which translates to 700 fewer trucks on the road per day.

In 2020, rail traffic in the Port of Barcelona was 269,304TEU, with a 15% rail share of containers and 42% rail share of vehicles. The Intermodal Logistics Terminal is expected to make it possible to shift about 400,000 containers and 46.000 semi-trailers from road to rail every year.

Accordingly, this decrease in road traffic meant that 42,700 fewer tonnes of CO2 were released and 14 million fewer liters of fuel burned, according to a statement.

Furthermore, the UMP will include regulation and urban planning of the spaces affected by new infrastructure. It envisions creating 208,000 m² of new green public spaces and the Green Corridor Agricultural Park of the Llobregat-Montjuïc Park, a network of green itineraries connecting the various logistic-port areas and natural spaces.

El Prat Mayor, Lluís Mijoler, said that the proposed solution will "restore territorial balance to the Delta, reconnect the city with the Agricultural Park and natural spaces, and replace what had been a wall south of El Prat with a green and sustainable cushion".

The UMP also aspires to use the green corridors as buffers to integrate the new infrastructure into the landscape. It will guarantee territorial integration of the new infrastructure and will also make sure that the resulting new public spaces have an environmental and social function.

Hence, the Intermodal Logistics Terminal of the Port of Barcelona is anticipated not to affect the valuable spaces nearby. "We are talking about the Port of Barcelona putting €15 million (US$16.9 million) toward direct investment outside the port area to create the urban planning conditions envisioned under the UMP. This move guarantees the environmental and social function of our public spaces," explained Calvet.

The progress report of the UMP for the Port of Barcelona Intermodal Logistics Terminal coincides with the start of the three-month process of citizen participation. Once the contributions of citizens and local bodies have been incorporated, the initial approval of UMP and the start of public consultation is expected.

"This will be an urban planning tool that will make it possible to implement the Port of Barcelona's intermodal terminal, and will integrate infrastructures and spaces dedicated to the productive economy into the territory with across-the-board consensus from administrations," said Agustí Serra, General Director of Territorial and Urban Planning.

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