The corridor Europe needs
The European single market’s competitiveness within the global economy’s framework requires, as a necessary condition, an efficient transport system regarding the economic, social and environmental costs. In this regard, prioritising the Mediterranean Corridor is the paradigmatic example of a long-term strategy implemented by the European Commission through its Trans-European Transport Network proposal.
A strategy that, in the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce, we share and support, since it strengthens our commitment to foster business competitiveness, which is the key factor in economic and social development, here and everywhere. However, it needs to be stressed that this is not simply to improve logistics, but it represents a firm and decided determination to benefit the productive economy. Because our main competitive advantage is our business network’s productive will, based on a great industrial and export tradition.
In fact, prioritising the Mediterranean Corridor relates to the shared objective to place Mediterranean ports as the main European entry and exit gateways for trade fluxes with the Far East, as well as to foster logistics within the Euro-Mediterranean area. It must be taken into account that Mediterranean ports, with Barcelona’s at the fore front, offer a great connection potential to attract trade traffic between Asia and Europe, which currently mainly use Northern European ports (up to 75%).
Consequently, the increase of Asian traffic attraction by Southern European ports might represent an important contribution to the global efficiency of the goods transport system, as the European Union seeks to achieve according to the White Paper on Transport, published this year. There, it is affirmed that Mediterranean ports offer a shorter journey time and that their use might be cheaper than Northern European routes. Roughly, it might represent saving between 15% and 20% of travel time, since three to four navigation days are being cut off. Since navigation distances are being reduced, and the modal distribution of land stages is optimised, fuel consumption, energy dependence and greenhouse gas emissions are reduced.
Therefore, we reach the conclusion that improving land links between southern and northern Europe is one of the main challenges to improve the European economy’s competitiveness. And, considering socio-economic profitability criteria, in our home, the main priority among such unsettled links is the Mediterranean Railway Corridor. The Corridor Europe needs.
Miquel Valls i Maseda
President of the Chamber of Commerce, Trade and Navigation of Barcelona (Cambra de Comerç, Indústria i Navegació de Barcelona)