Cars and food want to travel by train

  • More than 170,000 trucks circulate on European roads to transport citrus

  • Automobile and food are the two sectors that most clamor for the Mediterranean corridor

Pepa Torres placeholder image She is the CEO of Walker’s, a logistics company with three centers in Almussafes (Valencia) adjacent to its main client: Ford Spain. The businesswoman, who coordinates all the sequencing of pieces for the multinational company with the blue oval, ensures that the «world and the economy are turning towards sustainability and competitiveness and rail freight transport meets those two parameters. According to the executive of Walker’s, a company with 200 employees and about 5 million euros in turnover (its business has fallen by 47% compared to 2019) due to the global car stoppage due to the lack of microchips, “Southern Europe is abandoned by the authorities of Brussels and as a peripheral country, Spain must demand better rail connections so as not to miss the train of exports. Let’s see if the corridor is finished before 2030! “, Says this businesswoman.

If the future of the automotive industry passes through electric cars, the transport of goods from the south of the old continent “also passes through the railroad,” says the manager of Agfra, Jose Vicente Aguilar, an engineering company dedicated to the design and manufacture of tools and machines. According to the helmsman of this auxiliary SME of the business on four wheels, “the supply chain suffers more and more problems due to bottlenecks or fuel prices and that is why the transport of goods by train would solve these crises,” he points out. the head of Agfra. Aguilar emphasizes that “the automobile factories and their auxiliary industries in Spain must be well connected to the great ports of the Mediterranean and to the railroad. Morocco and its main port, Tangier-Med, are stepping on the accelerator in the car business, ”he recalls.

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For agri-food cooperatives, the railway infrastructure from Algeciras to Perpignan is also key to improving its competitiveness, faster, more sustainable and economical access to some of its main markets: France and Italy. “The corridor,” explains the head of the citrus sector of Cooperativas Agroalimentarias de España, Cyril Arnandis– It should serve as an initial stage in the transit of fruit and vegetables to other priority enclaves, such as Germany, and on the other hand, to countries such as Croatia, Slovenia or Hungary ”. According to Arnandis, «when the Mediterranean corridor is fully operational, the carbon footprint of the integral cycle of our productions would be significantly reduced since, in the case of citrus fruits alone, we would cause some 170,000 trucks to stop circulating each season on European roads , with the consequent cost savings that this would imply, “explains the leader of Cooperativas Agroalimentarias de España.

And as logistics costs skyrocket given the increase in fuel prices and companies cannot find drivers to drive their fleets of trucks, the president of the San Bernat de Carlet cooperative (Valencia), Álvaro Nogués, a center that mobilizes 70 million kilograms of summer fruit, citrus and persimon kakis, is also crying out for the Mediterranean Corridor. “It is key to compete with large European and third-country firms or to open new markets in Europe, increasingly concentrated in large operators.” This Valencian firm, which generates a business of 50 million euros per year and employs 2,000 permanent and temporary workers between the warehouse and fields, warns that the energy costs and CO2 emissions of fifty containers transported by rail are equivalent to that carried out by only five trucks. “The train, in addition, is essential to combat climate change,” concludes Nogués.

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