A conference on corridors and more specifically on the Ebro Axis was held last week in Lleida, Spain on 30 March, bringing together two hundred participants to the Conference. Among them were public organisations, logistics companies, ports, railway operators and professional associations. UIC, which maintains regular relations with the FERRMED association, participated in the conference through a video message given by Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, UIC Director General:
Today, many corridors are being developed and are crossing the Arabian Peninsula from the Arabian Gulf to the Red Sea, across Latin America to the Atlantic and the Pacific, crossing India from Mumbai and the Indian Ocean to Calcutta. And with Baltic Rail that connects the Baltic Sea to the North Sea. A trans-Iberian vision is also made possible in the freight axis with UIC gauge thanks to the development of high-speed passengers network, and thus allows a better European integration.
Railways have to be clearly part of the logistics offer in Europe. Specifically for rail freight volumes in Europe, international traffic will increase from 200 billion tonne-kilometres in 2012 to 400 in 2014, with a modal share of 18% in 2014.
In this European review, where combined transport embodies growth, Spain is below the European average. Corridors should be understood as a tool to improve the supply of rail freight. By carefully examining the growth figures of the main European ports, shipping offers positive signs, suggesting that this context is favourable. Focusing more specifically on Barcelona can be seen as a case study to show the importance of the network approach and should enable us to place the message in relation to potentially liberated High speed capacities. The context is therefore favourable, I can only encourage all the players involved to make the right choice!
Declaration of Lleida
On the occasion of this conference, a Declaration of Lleida was prepared. It stresses in particular:
"The Corridors of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic and the Axis of the Ebro are the most important transport routes in the Iberian Peninsula. The synergies that can be derived from a good interconnection between them are of great importance for the socio-economic
development of a region that concentrates most of the industrial and logistical activities of the Spanish state. It is also necessary to emphasise the trans-European and intercontinental links to which the Ebro Axis facilitates interconnection: the Mediterranean and Atlantic Corridors and the Mediterranean and Cantabrian sea fronts. In general, FERRMED requests that all the conventional lines in the zone be interoperable with the ERTMS system and have a voltage of 25,000 Volts”.
FERRMED continued to declare:
“Lleida, we ask the Spanish Government and the governments of Catalonia, Valencian Community, Aragon, La Rioja, Navarre, Basque Country, Cantabria and the Balearic Islands, to consider these proposals. And that in order to face together a future that can be resplendent we need properly adapted infrastructure. We believe that a united front between the business community and all concerned governments would make a major step forward for the citizens of this region.”
To consult the Declaration of Lleida please click on this link:
The UIC video message can be consulted here: