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May 12, 2014

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INTERNATIONAL MARITIME IMPORTING | EXPORTING | PORTS | CARRIERS | BREAKBULK | GLOBAL LOGISTICS 42 THE JOURNAL OF COMMERCE MAY 12.2014 By Peter T. Leach WHEN A SPANISH archer shot a f laming arrow into a cauldron to light the torch at the Olympic stadium in Barcelona, the spectacular feat did more than open the 1992 Olympic Games; it also signaled the transformation of this Mediterranean sea- port into a maritime gateway and logistics platform for European trade. Massive spending on infrastructure has transformed the Catalan city into a Euro- pean business center. Of the approximately $9.3 billion cost of the Olympics, some 70 percent went toward new roads, on tearing down the industrial waterfront and moving the commercial seaport to the south, away from the main city harbor front, which is now devoted to tourism, hotels and pleasure craft. "The Olympics put Barcelona on the map," said Mario Rubert, manager of econ- omy, enterprise and employment for the Barcelona City Council. "They allowed us to transform the city. Before the Olympics, we had our back to the sea. Now we have recovered the sea." The changes are especially startling to a correspondent who has not visited Barce- lona in more than 50 years. Back then, the city had a relatively small commercial port, mostly devoted to the bulk and breakbulk trade, and the ferry he took to Majorca. The ferry still runs, but now the port boasts two container terminals with on-dock rail connections, a third container terminal that is being converted to breakbulk, two large automobile terminals for imports and exports, bulk and liquid bulk terminals, seven cruise terminals, and a 200-acre logistics zone that supports the diversified activities. The expanded port and the reclamation of the old waterfront for tourism has been a big boost to the local economy. "Before the Olympics, we were the 20th or 30th most important business location in Europe. After the Games, we have always been among the top 5," Rubert said. It also has made Barcelona the world's fourth-largest cruise port after Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Port Canaveral, Florida. The increase in Barcelona's business activ- ity has helped keep the unemployment rate in the region lower than in the rest of Spain in the years since the 2008-09 recession. Although still high at 22 percent in Cata- lonia in March, it was lower than Spain's 26 percent jobless rate. Barcelona is located too far north of the main Asia-Europe trade lane to attract much of the container transshipments that boost the volumes of other Spanish ports such as Valencia and Algeciras, so it had to tailor its strategy to attract more valuable imports and exports that can boost its revenue and bring more business into the port. "Our goal is not just to attract more cargo but to make the port more competi- tive," said Santiago Mila, deputy general manager for strategy and commerce at the Port of Barcelona. "We needed to find out what was needed so we could calculate the added value it would bring to the local econ- omy." He dismisses the business of other transshipment ports as not adding value. "Tons of what?" he said. "Our aim is to cre- ate value for our hinterland." Barcelona's hinterland in Catalonia and the rest of Spain accounts for 80 percent of the port's total cargo volume. The port's strategy is to build its volume of cargo mov- ing to and from the rest of Europe by road and rail. "We designed our strategy on the growth of the Asian trade," Mila said. China alone currently accounts for 21 percent of Barcelona's container imports. Currently, 65 to 70 percent of Europe's container traffic with Asia moves through ports in northern Europe, and 25 to 30 per- cent through ports in southern Europe. Barcelona has teamed up with the southern European ports of Marseilles and Genoa in a marketing effort called the Intermed Asso- ciation to boost their share of Asian cargo by promoting their facilities as gateways to Europe for imports from Asia via the Suez Canal. They are promoting themselves as gateways that can achieve a substantial sav- ings in time and carbon dioxide emissions over shipments to North European ports. The distance traveled by a container shipped from Asia to Lyons, France, via the Port of Barcelona is about 1,900 miles BARCELONA BLOOMS With a multibillion-dollar expansion in place, the Spanish port looks to attract more Asia cargo to southern Europe Source: Port Authority of Barcelona BARCELONA CONTAINER TRADE n In thousands of TEUs 100 125 150 175 200 M F JAN 2014 D N O S A J J M A M F JAN 2013

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