Marrakesh: North African transport professionals introduced to TransLogMED by the Escola Europea

The Escola’s efforts to continue to promote the ambitious TransLogMED project across the Mediterranean waters go further next week as its staff travels to Marrakesh to participate in the 7th edition of the International Logistics and Transport Tradeshow LOGISMED, from 9th to 11th May.

Being the largest landmark logistics trade show in Morocco, and having ascertained itself over the last 7 years as the largest gathering of transport and logistics professionals in Africa and the Mediterranean, LOGISMED proves the perfect venue to introduce the objectives and goals of the TransLogMED project to the visitors. The Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport will promote the project in its own booth, positioned next to one of its partners and stakeholders, Grandi Navi Veloci (GNV) (section D, booths D1 and D2).

The project office is also holding the TransLogMED project’s Action Committee in Marrakesh on the second day of the show, bringing together the project’s stakeholders and reviewing the past year’s accomplishments. During the meeting an overview of the goals for the current year will be listed, separated by the different participating countries (Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Jordan, and Egypt).

From the 7th to the 9th May, Eduard Rodés, the director of the Escola, will introduce the project at the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) Conference on Maritime Transport and Logistics which will take place in Ismailia, Egypt.

Among the project’s to-date achievements, the director of the Escola highlighted the huge success of the MOST (Motorways of the Sea Training) Tunis edition, which took place in April 2018. The course was organised jointly with the Institut Méditerranéen de Formation aux Métiers Maritimes, with the help of the Escola’s usual collaborators (Port of Barcelona, Ports of Genoa, Ports of Rome, Grandi Navi Veloci (GNV) and Grimaldi Lines) and the Office of the Merchant Navy (l’Office de la Marine Marchande), Cotunav, Stam and Transglory. The training was carried out on board of two vessels, one from GNV and the other from Cotunav, and took place on the short sea shipping crossing between La Goulette and Genoa.

The long-term objective of TransLogMED is to foster the development of the motorways of the Sea between the Mediterranean countries, which will in turn help promote inclusive growth and youth employability, as well as sustainable development in the region. The project focuses in particular on: Increasing efficiency in logistics and transport, particularly in door to door and platform to platform multimodal solutions; Enhancing the competencies and capabilities of the transport and logistics operators; and creating a knowledge network as the activities become regular, together with a best practices exchange platform that brings together experts from both Northern and Southern Mediterranean countries. The project took off in 2017 and will finish in 2021.

For more information you can consult the project page and the Escola’s website or write to

Natural gas consolidates itself as the future of energy

Natural gas seems to have become strong in some segments of transport due to its own merits and, in view of how the associated technology is evolving.

In the opinion of many experts, natural gas is to play an important role in the short and medium term in the decarbonisation of the world economy, as a mere energy of transition towards a future dominated by electric power.

However, in view of the current technological and industrial development, the panorama of a transport powered by electricity as the main energy source, while waiting for the batteries to gain autonomy and lighten their weight, only seems realistic in the very long term, while the option of having an energy mix that can serve as an effective alternative to oil derivatives is gaining strength.

In contrast, in recent years the applications of natural gas, both in land and maritime transport, have not stopped growing and, in view of the investments committed in different areas for the coming years, it does not seem that this energy will go to decay.

Moreover, it seems, as some experts indicate, that natural gas will witness an important takeoff in the decade of 2020.

Truck manufacturers have multiplied their supply of gas vehicles in recent years, while they have been bringing the performance of engines powered by this energy to those of other comparable units that use diesel as fuel, just in a segment of activity in which electric batteries cannot compete due to their lower autonomy and their weight, which comes at the cost of load capacity.

On the other hand, in maritime transport, natural gas seems to be truly established as an alternative technology for the future, just when the sector is facing a radical change in its levels of polluting emissions. This is evidenced by both the acquisition of new ships propelled by natural gas that have made different shipping companies, as well as investments in facilities to supply gas vessels and carry out bunkering operations in ports in different areas of the world.

In maritime transport, investments tend to move large sums of money over long periods of time, so the sector is looking for proven and reliable technologies that can be profitable in the medium and long term, something that they seem to have found in natural gas.

History has shown that the most realistic technologies have been imposed on more avant-garde and risky proposals, precisely because of their greater capacity to adapt to the real needs of markets, companies and people.

Natural gas seems to have become strong in some segments of transport due to its own merits and, in view of how the state of the art is evolving in the past, it seems that it is here to stay.

Source: Cadena de Suministro

Grimaldi receives the ‘Naval Award of the Year’ for its services of vehicle transport

The Grimaldi Group has received the ‘Naval Award of the Year’ at the fourth edition of the North American Automotive Awards, which have been held in the US city of Detroit, Michigan.

The Italian shipping company has become one of the main providers of integrated maritime transport logistics services for vehicle manufacturers.

This award, given annually by the Three6Zero Group, aims to recognize global excellence in the supply chain of the automotive sector. In total, 21 companies and professionals have been awarded for their achievements in the sector or for the development of new ways of thinking and working.

With 70 years of experience, the Italian shipping company, based in Naples, has become one of the main providers of integrated maritime transport logistics services for vehicle manufacturers.

Currently, it offers various maritime services both for ro-ro cargo and for the transport of containers to North American destinations. Its Grimaldi Lines brand operates regular connections from the eastern and western Mediterranean, and also from the coasts of West Africa, while its brand Atlantic Container Line, ACL, covers a weekly route that passes through several ports of northern Europe before reaching the American continent.

Source: Cadena de Suministro

More than 40 European associations come together to claim more investment for transport

These associations consider that “a larger EU budget for investment for transport is the best plan for Europe”.

More than 40 European associations representing the transport sector and sectors linked to this activity have signed the so-called Ljubljana Declaration, a document in which they demand more investment in transport within the EU budget after 2020. This took place during the celebration of the European TEN-T Days, the most important annual meeting of European Transport Corridors held from Wednesday to Friday in the capital of Slovenia, the place of origin of the European Transport Commissioner, Violeta Bulc.

The document, which was published on Thursday, calls on European policy makers to increase the EU budget for the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) in order to facilitate the completion of the main network, which will require 500,000 million euros between 2021 and 2030. The associations consider that the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) “establishes the right priorities in terms of sustainability and cohesion and can contribute to solving the current transport challenges”. “Investing in TEN-T projects has a particularly high European added value,” says the document.

They also request that the investment be focused on ” better and more innovative transport”. To achieve this, it proposes to accelerate “investments in digital, innovative and sustainable transport projects” to move towards a “more ecological, truly integrated, modern, accessible to all, more secure and efficient” transport system.

The associations propose that the EU “continue to provide subsidies” to finance transport projects at the core of the TEN-T network. “The subsidies are essential to complete the network,” explains the document, which states that “most transport projects with high socioeconomic value do not generate enough income to cover the total investment costs.”

The Ljubljana Declaration concludes with a plea in favour of CEF funds, which are “essential to complete the TEN-T network and attain ecological transport, which will benefit all Europeans”. “An insufficient budget for transport will jeopardise the completion of the TEN-T basic network. A larger EU budget for transport is the best investment plan for Europe, ” states the document.

Source: El Vigia


The Escola Europea inaugurates its Classroom of the Stars

On Thursday the 5th of April the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport held the inauguration ceremony for its new Classroom of the Stars (Aula dels Estels) in Barcelona.

The Escola has, since its founding, strived to offer formative excellence based on original and innovative formats through unique and practical courses. The inauguration of the new classroom has cemented the centre’s strategy and emphasized that the institution will continue this line of innovation and excellence. The partners of the Escola were clear that “training is a tool for advancement and progress”, as stressed by its president Sixte Cambra, of the Port of Barcelona. The Aula dels Estels will give the Escola an additional tool to continue its mission of providing excellent training to students and professionals alike.

The ceremony of the new classroom, located in the maritime terminal of Drassanes of the Port of Barcelona, with fantastic views of the area, was complemented by an interesting conference in which professional experts in conflict resolution, team cohesion, leadership and neuroeducation shared their knowledge with the attendees.


The educational focus of the Escola is based on research: students attend lectures and practical workshops and work on a case study in groups, which encourages collaborative work and group cohesion as a means to optimise the development of logistics chains.

The Escola Europea gains 175 alumni following three courses for University and professional students

This March and April the Escola Europea has opened its doors to students from universities and professional training centres in France and Spain.

On the 24th of March, 76 students of logistics and supply chain from the Promotrans centres in Lille and Toulouse (in France) arrived in Barcelona to embark on the MOST (Motorways of the Sea Training) Management course.

On the 14th of April 42 students of logistics and maritime business from Tecnocampus Mataró (affiliated with the University Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona) also began the 4-day long MOST Management course, which takes place in Barcelona, on board of a Grimaldi Lines Ro-Pax vessel on the crossing between Barcelona and Civitavecchia, and in Civitavecchia.

The aim of the MOST course is to offer complete and concise training in intermodal maritime logistics, short sea shipping services and the motorways of the sea. The courses are aimed at both professionals and students of logistics, transport and international commerce. In both cases, the students began the theoretical training in intermodal transport and logistics in Barcelona, and then boarded the Ro-Pax vessel Cruise Roma to continue the training along the short sea shipping route between the two Mediterranean cities.

The Port of Barcelona, the Ports of Rome and Grimaldi Lines collaborated with the Escola in the organisation of these courses. The teaching staff comprised professionals from the European transport sector as well as academic experts.

This week, the recently inaugurated classroom of the Escola Aula dels Estels was filled with 57 students of transport management, logistics and international commerce coming from the EAE Business School of Barcelona. The students took part in the Escola’s MOST Intermodality course.

Unlike the other two courses, this training did not include a trip on board of the ferry. Nevertheless it also offered a balanced rotation between theoretical lectures and practical workshops. The contents of the theoretical classes focused on intermodal logistics and the motorways of the sea; the port of Barcelona as a principal node for intermodal transfers; innovation in the transport sector; the management of port terminals and the Border Inspection Point and the presentation of an intermodal transport real case. The practical visits helped the students visualise the concepts explained during the lectures as they are applied in real life. Aside from the maritime visit of the port during which the different terminals of the Port of Barcelona were pointed out, the group could visit some of the terminals and witness their operations from the perspectives of their employees. The terminals that were visited were: Grimaldi Lines (including a workshop of a ro-pax vessel’s hold), Autoterminal, APM Terminal, the Border Inspection Point (PIF – according to its Spanish acronym), and LOGISTAINER, a logistics warehouse.

“I liked it a lot. It was very interesting to see in practice all the aspects of the operations described in the theoretical classes.”

“Without a doubt I would recommend this course to anyone interested in the subject! For my part I have learned and I have had a good time. I will certainly remember this experience”

With these comments, a student of EAE Business School and another of Tecnocampus confirmed the high level of satisfaction felt by the students at the end of the training.

The educational focus of the Escola is based on research: students attend lectures and practical workshops and work on a case study in groups, which encourages collaborative work and group cohesion as a means to optimize the development of logistics chains.

The European Parliament focuses on working conditions in the transport sector

The processing of the new legislative package on the road is complicated, but the sector will defend the application of specific regulations and not the Directive for posted workers.

To move towards an integrated mobility system in Europe, with an automated procedure for collecting and circulating data between operators, professionals, users and administrations, it is necessary to harmonize working conditions in the transport sector.

This is one of the main ideas presented by the MEP Izaskun Bilbao during the Road Transport Seminar held in mid-April at the European Parliament’s headquarters in Madrid, where she stressed that the Directive for posted workers is not adapted to the variables that define this activity.

In Bilbao’s opinion, the profession of a professional driver has experienced “a degradation of their working and social conditions” in recent years, which was motivated by a non-specific regulatory framework and by its heterogeneous application in the different Member States. All this has led to a serious problem of ‘social dumping’ and excessive protectionism, increasing both the fragmentation of the market and the administrative burdens to which transport is subjected to.

The processing of the new legislative package of the road appears, in his opinion, complicated, but the sector will call for a specific regulation, and not the Directive created specifically for displaced workers.

Decarbonization and the European Single Window

In this context, the MEP denounced “the precariousness that is being installed in the sector” and that puts road safety at risk, as well as the objectives of decarbonisation and the possibility for workers to improve their skills related to the technological revolution.

In the short term, it is “urgent” to give visibility to the European commitment to sustainability and implement global regulatory frameworks that are accompanied by local measures. He also referred to the creation of a European Agency to regulate this mode of transport before 2025, in particular the European single window, the implementation of which will significantly reduce administrative burdens.

Source: Cadena de Suministro

GHG Emissions Policy Gets Varied Response from Environmental and Ocean Freight Shipping

Guidelines for Change Still Controversial – Too Little or Too Much? 

Nobody could accuse the International Maritime Organization (IMO) of rushing into a decision regarding its avowed intent to cut pollution from cargo and passenger vessels. The greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions legislation has caused controversy since first suggested and has been something of a no win situation fparor the IMO as shipping lines, the freight community and environmentalists have all been publicising their views. On Friday April 13 we finally heard what the IMOs ‘Initial Strategy’ is to be, and the controversy, although muted, continues.

The IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) has announced that all participating member states have now finally agreed to reduce CO2 emissions as against 2008 levels by 50% by the year 2050. This decision comes after heated lobbying from all sides and has variously been hailed as ‘landmark’, ‘realistic’ and ‘far from perfect’ depending on who you listen to.

One has to have some sympathy with the IMO on this, it was always going to be impossible to please everybody and whilst viewed as a lumbering monolith by some, others consider the organisation the only chance to make collective decisions which have a truly global influence. Whatever your view, the details of Friday’s decision make it plain there is still a long way to go.

The new agreement comments that shipping must strive to assist in reaching the aim of the Paris Climate Agreement’s temperature goal, keeping the rise in global warming well below 2° C. Critics will say that the new agreement lacks detail with no specifics regarding timeframe for the reductions and this is a table of ambition rather than a prescriptive policy. Regulations will only be drawn up after yet another two rounds of studies due for completion by 2022.

IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim hinted that, despite resistance from several states, progress was already being made. The move toward cleaner ships is already under way as technology progresses and some will see a degree of prevarication in the IMO’s stance, simply waiting for the industry to sort the problem itself. He commented:

“I encourage you to continue your work through the newly adopted Initial GHG Strategy which is designed as a platform for future actions. I am confident in relying on your ability to relentlessly continue your efforts and develop further actions that will soon contribute to reducing GHG emissions from ships.”

Just as the use of emission scrubbers, lower sulphur fuels and electrically powered vessels help with air quality, so the steadily rising amount of goods transported has the opposite effect. Last week we heard environmental operation Transparency International roundly criticise IMO policy, saying the industry holds too much sway over the organisation. Certainly the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) which called for a 50% reduction, rather than the more swingeing cuts which some states preferred, seems to have got its way.

ICS says that the efficiency goal that has been agreed by IMO Member States for the sector as a whole, a 40% improvement by 2030, compared to 2008, and a 50-70% improvement by 2050, is extremely ambitious but probably achievable. But only if governments recognise the enormity of this challenge and facilitate the rapid development of new technologies and fuels. ICS Secretary General Peter Hinchliffe commenting:

“This is a ground breaking agreement, a Paris Agreement for shipping, that sets a very high level of ambition for the future reduction of CO2 emissions. We are confident this will give the shipping industry the clear signal it needs to get on with the job of developing zero CO2fuels, so that the entire sector will be in a position to decarbonise completely, consistent with the 1.5 degree climate change goal.”

“The agreed IMO objective of cutting the sector’s total GHG emissions by at least 50% before 2050, as part of a continuing pathway for further reduction, is very ambitious indeed, especially when account is taken of current projections for trade growth as the world’s population and levels of prosperity continue to increase.”

The UK Chamber of Shipping lauded the agreement and set out the view of many UK shipping groups whilst emphasising the size and importance of the sector. CEO Guy Platten said:

“This agreement commits the shipping industry to reducing its carbon emissions by at least 50% by 2050. But crucially this should be seen as a stepping stone towards decarbonisation in the long term, something which must be continue to be a major focus in the years ahead. Shipping moves 90% of global trade, and people understand the link between trade and prosperity, but rightly they demand we do it in a sustainable and responsible way. Climate change is real and we have a responsibility to play our part in preventing further damage to the environment.

“The shipping industry has already made great strides. Battery-powered ferries operate in Scotland, Scandinavia and elsewhere. Huge investment has gone in to better hydrodynamics, more efficient engines and lower carbon fuels. But make no mistake, these marginal gains alone are not enough to meet the 50% target, and certainly will not be enough meet the public’s expectations of a more fully decarbonised industry.”

“In truth, there is widespread understanding that in the long-term the industry needs to be powered by carbon-free fuel, and that will almost certainly mean a mix of battery, hydrogen and other zero-carbon fuels. Whilst battery and hydrogen cell technology does exist, their current capabilities are not sufficient to become the dominant fuels of the industry at this time. So research and development is now required on a massive scale.

“Last year the UK Government put £250 million of investment into battery R&D but that was targeted almost exclusively at the automotive sector. We need to see that kind of government-industry collaboration now applied to the shipping industry. Other countries are already investing heavily in developing carbon free fuels for ships.

”The UK could, of course, leave them to it. But if the future vision for the industry includes much greater use of carbon free fuel in international shipping, having that technology developed in the UK will mean huge opportunities to create jobs and generate wealth. The UK Government should pledge therefore to make the UK a world leader in carbon free fuels through investment in research and development.”

The international view was put by the World Shipping Council (WSC) which welcomed the agreement calling it ‘an ambitious strategy’ whilst requesting the IMO now initiates a formal Research and Development Programme itself. This was initially proposed when the WSC, and other organisations, submitted a paper last year to MEPC describing the need for a substantial, focused, and sustained programme. WSC President and CEO John Butler took the long view on reducing GHG emissions from shipping, saying:

“As hard as it was to reach political agreement this week, what comes next will be harder. We have to shift from a political mindset to an engineering mindset. There are no quick fixes here, but we can solve this problem. To do that we must establish a maritime research and development effort that will deliver the tools necessary to transform the industry. That is the next step for the IMO.”

For its part BIMCO says it is very satisfied with the strategy and that change in the industry was already well under way with emissions now decoupled from the growth in the world economy. The organisation, the largest of the international shipping associations representing ship owners with 56% of the world’s fleet by tonnage on its books says it sees zero carbon emissions as a realistic goal for the second half of this century, but reiterated that investments in research and technology are required to get there. Deputy General Secretary, Lars Robert Pedersen, commented:

“In BIMCO we believe that the industry can deliver on this target, even if we don’t exactly know how, yet. The strategy shows that there is only one road ahead, and that is the road towards decarbonisation. The strategy reinforces existing IMO regulations to enhance the energy efficiency of ships and sets out the long-term goals. This will guide the development of new technology and the design of new ships. Now we have to focus on the mid-to-long term. We have to find the technology and procedures that will drive us towards zero GHG emissions.”

Even environmental pressure group Greenpeace was receptive to the proposals but said that although the deal lists possible mitigation measures, the lack of an action plan for their development and the tone of discussions at the IMO does not give the organisation much confidence that measures will be adopted soon. Greenpeace urges the industry to transform these goals into concrete, urgent steps to decarbonise in full as soon as possible and by 2050 at the latest. Greenpeace International political advisor Veronica Frank, observed

“The plan is far from perfect, but the direction is now clear, a phase out of carbon emissions. This decarbonisation must start now and targets improved along the way, because without concrete, urgent measures to cut emissions from shipping now the Paris ambition to limit warming to 1.5 degrees will become swiftly out of reach.

“The IMO plan is a first step in the right direction, but much more needs to be done to achieve climate stability. The initial deal will be revised in 2023 and reviewed again in 2028, giving opportunities to strengthen the targets.”

Source: Handy Shipping Guide

Five Facts About Sustainable Ship Recycling

Despite recycling a majority of tonnage annually, South Asian countries have been repeatedly questioned about the environmental viability of such activity. This is despite the fact that almost everything on an end-of-life and the ship itself is recycled and reused, which adds to the sustainability of our natural resources.

Below, five facts are shared which exemplify the meaningful contribution of the ship recycling industry towards the environment and the society.

1. Boost to Local Economy

The ship recycling industry in South Asia is associated with a huge downstream market for second-hand goods such as furniture, machinery, joinery, electrical equipment, household appliances, home décor, paints, hardware items, etc. This supports the concept of industrial ecology or industrial symbiosis as the outputs from ship recycling yards are utilized as inputs to small-scale industries working to refurbish items which are eventually traded in the second-hand market.

All this is in addition to the steel re-rolling mills and steel melting mills which utilize ferrous scrap from end-of-life ships to produce steel goods such as bars, ingots, pipes, plates, etc. The entire localized industry developed due to ship recycling yards is a major boost to the local economy, as it assists in flourishing of trade of second-hand goods, ferrous scrap and non-ferrous scrap. At the same time, a large number of jobs are also created.

2. Creation of Jobs

The nexus of ship recycling yards, refurbishing shops, re-rolling mills, steel mills and second-hand shops creates a localized industry which employs hundreds of thousands of people from marginalized segments of the society. These jobs include both semi-skilled and unskilled workforce working at ship recycling yards dismantling and cutting end-of-life ships and at other downstream industries discussed above. According to the World Bank estimates, “the work force in each country varies with the volume of ship breaking but may range from 8,000–22,000 workers in the ship recycling yards to 200,000 in the supply chain, shops, and re-rolling mills.”

3. Recovery of Metal Scrap

The metal scrap obtained from end-of-life ships includes both the ferrous scrap and non-ferrous scrap. The ferrous scrap is generally classified in two ways – re-rollable scrap and melting scrap. In South Asian ship recycling yards, about 60 percent of the total weight of the ship’s steel is obtained in the form of re-rollable scrap. This comprises of plates, beams, girders and angle bars.

The re-rollable scrap is sold at a premium compared to the remaining 40 percent which is comprised of the irregular pieces of steel earmarked as melting scrap. The re-rollable products are generally used in the construction industry of these countries whereas the melting scrap is used to form finished steel products in a foundry.

In South Asia, the recovery of re-rollable and melting scrap steel by the ship recycling industry and its eventual supply for the iron and steel industries is critical because more than half of Bangladesh’s steel supply is fulfilled via this route. Similarly, for Pakistan and to some extent to India as well, the importance of the ship recycling industry for supplying scrap to the iron and steel industry is immense.

For example, in 2011 about 688,000 tons and 2.7 million tons of ferrous scrap was supplied by the ship recycling industry to the steel making industry in Pakistan and India, respectively. On a global basis, since 2011, every year at least seven million tons of metal scrap is produced by the ship recycling industry. This figure touched the 11 million ton mark in the year 2012 when a record number of ships were dismantled globally.

4. Reduced Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions

The positive effect of using scrap metal to produce finished products instead of using metal ore is seen in terms of reduced GHG emissions. The emissions reduction is due to the reduced energy consumption by up to 70 percent in steel making using scrap steel as compared to using iron ore. Moreover, the need for metal mining is also diminished, which adds to the reduction of the GHG emissions.

This is an important contribution of the ship recycling industry towards sustainability because the world needs to find ways to decarbonize the atmosphere in the wake of the issues such as global warming, depletion of the ozone layer and climate change.

5. Reduced Pollution

The recycling of steel scrap obtained from end-of-life ships also helps reduce air and water pollution. At the same time, it helps reduce water consumption. These reductions are due to fact that fewer resources are required to manufacture products from metal scrap as compared to metal ore. Scientifically published estimates suggest 86 percent less air pollution, 76 percent less water pollution, 40 percent reduction in water usage while making steel from scrap than from iron-ore.

The above aspects of the global ship recycling industry corroborate the fact that generally the industry is beneficial for the environment and the society. However, doubts have been raised by some on the manner in which ships are dismantled on some yards in the Indian sub-continent. The way ships are dismantled can definitely have consequences on environment and health and safety of the workers. Therefore, the need to improve the substandard facilities cannot be refuted.

At the same time, labeling yards HSE friendly or not on the basis of their geographical area cannot be justified: especially when almost half of the active yards in India have voluntarily upgraded their facilities to obtain the statements of compliance with the Hong Kong Convention from IACS member classification societies.

Dr. Kanu Priya Jain is Coordinator for Responsible Ship Recycling at GMS (Dubai).

Source: Maritime Executive

Southern Europe is close to the goal of moving 40% of container traffic

The historic gap with the northern ports begins to fade.

The ports of Southern Europe are moving towards a rebalancing of traffic with Northern Europe. The old aspiration of the main ports of the Mediterranean to reach the quota of 40% of the European maritime market is still distant in terms of total traffic, but it took a major a step forward in the container market. The index of the 25 European ports with the most movements in TEUs in 2017 has 14 enclaves from the South of the continent, which account for up to 36% of container traffic. A significant percentage if we assess that three years earlier this percentage was only 25%.

The same analysis of the evolution of the total port traffic dilutes the contribution of the southern ports to a percentage lower than 30%. At the same time, the number of ports of this facade in the ranking of the top 25 of the continent is limited to ten. Regardless, the index also shows a positive evolution in the South of Europe, as the first 15 ports show a growth of 4.3% in 2017, almost double that of the 15 largest ports in the North, which showed a 2.3% increase.

Despite this, this growing trend of southern European ports coincides in a context of growth for the giants that make up the axis from Le Havre to Hamburg, historical leaders of maritime traffic on the continent. Rotterdam continues to increase its dominance in the European ranking, with a growth of 11% in 2017 in the container segment, reaching 13.7 million TEUs moved through its docks; while Antwerp achieved a 4.1% growth in 2017, with 10.4 million TEUs.

Hamburg was the exception, losing 1% of traffic, with 8.8 million TEUs; while Bremen achieved a slight increase of 0.9% by processing 5.5 million containers last year.

After these first four positions, European container traffic moved to Spain, which in 2017 holds three enclaves within the continent’s elite. The results at the end of the year show that the port of Barcelona joins Valencia and Algeciras in the European top 10, after registering a spectacular growth of 32.2% in number of TEUs transported in 2017, the largest percentage increase of the entire European port system with almost three million units. The Catalan enclave recovers the position that it occupied in 2007, before the economic recession, and now the number of moved TEUs is almost 14% higher than that registered that year.

For its part, Valencia increased its traffic by 2.1%, to 4.8 million TEUs, and snatched the fifth place from Algeciras, with 4.3 million TEUs and a sharp decline of 7.9%, due, among other factors, to the stowage conflict, which affected the Andalusian port more than other Spanish enclosures. It also highlights the growth experienced by another Mediterranean port, the Greek port of Piraeus, which transported more containers than in 2016, grew a 10.5%, and surpassed the figure of four million containers.

More growth in the Mediterranean

Expectations for 2018 also point to the fact that this growth will continue in the ports of Southern Europe, according to the latest Global Port Tracker report prepared by Hackett Associates. According to the forecasts offered by this maritime consultant, in 2018 there will be an increase of 6.2% in total imports to Europe, with 25.7 million TEUs. Specifically, it expects Northern Europe to increase its traffic by 5.6%, to 16.06 million TEUs, while pointing out that the Mediterranean and the Black Sea region will achieve a rebound of 7.2%, with a prediction of 9.64 million containers.

For its part, the forecast of exports made by Hackett Associates for the year 2018 projects an increase of 5.8% for Europe, with a total of 22.11 million TEUs, with Northern Europe increasing by 3.7%, reaching 13.66 million containers; while the Mediterranean and the Black Sea regions will achieve an increase of 9.4%, transporting up to 8.44 million units.

Overall, according to the calculations offered by the consultancy, the Northern ports would accumulate a total volume of 29.7 million containers in 2018, reducing their quota to 62.1%; while the southern enclaves of the continent are expected to achieve a total of 18 million TEUs, increasing their participation to 37.9%, which would confirm the upward trend of the growth of these ports in recent years.

Hacket Associates’s report places the port of Hamburg as the main victim throughout 2018, “affected by the reduction in transshipment services to the Baltic and the fierce competition of Rotterdam.”

Source: El Vigía