Port of Barcelona highlights added cargo value and electrification in new strategy

Port of Barcelona highlights added cargo value and electrification in new strategy
Mercè Conesa, president of the Port of Barcelona

The Port of Barcelona has unveiled its strategic plan for 2021-2025, aiming to increase the value of foreign trade it handles, reduce emissions and expand the size of its workforce.

In terms of economic sustainability, the hub wants to increase the value of foreign trade passing through the port from the €65bn (US$79bn) at present to €70bn (US$85bn) by 2025.

From an environmental point of view, it hopes to electrify 50% of its container and roll-on roll-off (ro-ro) wharves and to have a provisional network and OPS connections consolidated or with electrification projects underway.

With regards to social sustainability, the port intends to increase human capital from 37,000 to 40,000 people working daily or regularly on site.

From an infrastructure perspective, the plan is designed as the “starting point” for the new Catalunya Wharf, which will position all containerised activity in the southern sector of the port.

Mercè Conesa, president of the Port of Barcelona, said: “We want to take on these challenges with drive and courage and we ask society, companies and administrations to join us in reaching these goals.”

She explained that the plan would create “a port that will have modernised its infrastructures; generated economic activity and supported the productive fabric; a port that will maintain economic growth, which is indispensable”.

“Our strategic plan will therefore bring about a more prosperous society, and a greener and more human port,” she added.

The port’s fourth strategic plan has two timelines: one running until 2025, for which a set of specific and quantifiable objectives has been defined, and a long-term horizon up to 2040, marking the main lines of action to maintain competitiveness.

The strategy is the result of a process involving 200 practitioners from Barcelona Port Community and the port’s main stakeholders, taking possible future scenarios into consideration as well as the port’s future image.

Among the objectives laid out are goals oriented towards fostering the energy transition (renewable energy generation, wharf electrification, fostering cleaner fuels, etc.) to facilitate the decarbonisation of port activity and minimise its impact on the environment and people.

Raising the port’s competitiveness is envisioned by diversifying port business and differentiating the offer of services by focusing on innovation, digitalisation and the capacity to adapt to change, while attracting new logistics activity.

In particular, the port intends to become the smartest logistics hub in the Mediterranean, consolidating itself as a multidisciplinary space where all means of transport converge, regardless of the origin and destination of the goods.

With regards to the workforce, the plan is to promote promoting specific and quality training and facilitate the generation of knowledge focal points in sectors such as logistics and the blue economy.

José Alberto Carbonell, the Port of Barcelona’s general manager, also underscored the wish to create a port that is more accessible to the public.

He announced the development of an urban master plan to create more than 40 ha of green areas with an investment of almost €24m (US$29m), linking the Llobregat agricultural park with the Montjuïc mountain.