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Barcelona port ready for recovery after covid time.

The pandemic caused by Covid-19 has impacted the world, causing a serious health and economic crisis at the global level. Its effect is beginning to wane in regions such as Western Europe, which is gradually returning to normal. But the negative impact on the economy of these countries has a direct effect on the welfare of their citizens.

The Port of Barcelona, aware that it is an essential economic engine and that it must be one of the main levers for recovery, is implementing a series of measures from the outset to help the productive sectors and society to emerge from the current situation as quickly as possible.

Before the declaration of the state of alarm in Spain, the Port has already drawn up a Contingency Plan, with the full involvement of the Barcelona Port Community

Before the declaration of the state of alarm in Spain, the Port had already drawn up a Contingency Plan, with the full involvement of the Barcelona Port Community, in order to guarantee the correct functioning of its infrastructures and services. The Plan has been successfully developed and the Port has not stopped providing service at any time.

Recovery Plan

These measures, initially aimed at ensuring the proper functioning of the supply chain, have been extended and adapted to the needs of society and the business community. Firstly, a Plan of Economic Measures was set in motion, with which the Port of Barcelona made 56 million euros available to the business fabric to withstand the blow of the pandemic. These are measures aimed at freeing up liquidity, thanks to the advance payment of suppliers and the postponement of the payment of port taxes, and savings for operators through the reduction of fees.

Subsequently, the Extraordinary Board of Directors of the Port of Barcelona held on 10 June approved the implementation of the first measures of the Recovery Plan, agreed with the Port Community, to boost the economy once again. The main objectives of this Plan are to recover traffic, detect new opportunities, promote innovation and look to the future. With the first provisions approved, the Port of Barcelona will mobilise some 23 million euros in favour of its operators until 2022.

The measures of the Crash Plan and the Recovery Plan are very necessary for the economy in general and especially for the operators of certain traffics

These measures are, on the one hand, the one-off rebates on the occupancy rate during fiscal years 2021 and 2022 to be applied to container, multipurpose and ro-ro and car terminals, with reductions in the rate ranging from 5 to 30%, depending on the type and volume of traffic. And on the other hand, the modification of the correction coefficients reducing the rates of use, which will be applied for the first time in the ship, in the passenger and in the merchandise.

The measures of the Crash Plan and the Recovery Plan are very necessary for the economy in general and especially for the operators of certain traffics that are suffering especially during these months. The passenger terminals stand out, which have completely stopped their activity, both in the area of cruises and ferries, since the entry of people has been prohibited in Spanish ports, and which may see the employment rate reduced by up to 60%. And the new vehicle terminals, which have seen a dramatic reduction in car sales and this has had a direct impact on manufacturing and logistics in this extremely important industrial sector.

Investing to be competitive

Although the implementation of these economic measures will mean a very significant reduction in its income, the Port of Barcelona will maintain its investments, prioritising them in accordance with criteria of efficiency and social, environmental and economic performance. These are strategic investments that will determine the future competitiveness of the Port and the hinterland it serves, such as new road and rail accesses; electrification of the docks to make it easier for ships to turn off their engines when they are berthed in the port, thus significantly reducing the emissions generated by port activity; or the development of a high-capacity and reliable 5G telecommunications network prepared for the Internet of Things (IOT) and for the growing degree of automation of management tools, not only in the Port of Barcelona but in the entire logistics sector.

At the same time, it is a question of making significant investments that will help construction, technology and other strategic sector companies to recover their pre-crisis activity

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The world’s largest container ships arrive in Barcelona

Covid-19 has had a negative impact on international trade and the transport of goods. The shipping companies have therefore adapted their services to this reduction in demand by reorganising their regular lines and the calls they offer worldwide. These changes have enabled some of the largest container ships to start operating regularly in Barcelona.

As of this June, the ships MSC Sixin and MSC Gülsün, the second largest container ships in the world, with a capacity of 23,756 TEU (container unit), 400 metres in length and 61 metres in breadth, are connecting Barcelona with the Far East ports, the main market of the Port of Barcelona.

The arrival of these giants places Barcelona among the world’s leading ports and reaffirms the Port’s strategic commitment. On the one hand, it shows that it is prepared – through infrastructure, technology and services – to provide an efficient response to the challenge posed by the arrival of vessels of these dimensions. On the other hand, it shows that the large shipping companies continue to bet on Barcelona as one of the hubs for the distribution of goods between Europe and Asia. The design of these large, state-of-the-art ships means that the emissions from each container transported are substantially reduced, thus aligning with the environmental objectives of the Port of Barcelona.

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