During the second Stakeholder’s Forum of the INEA co-funded CLYMA (the Development of the Lyon – Madrid axis on the TEN-T Mediterranean Corridor) project, which took place on the 12th of March in Barcelona, Santi Vila, the Minister of Planning and Sustainability of the Generalitat de Catalunya, said that the short-term main challenges in Catalonia and Spain as a whole are the connectivity issue between ports and other means of transport as well as the competitiveness of the Pyrenees. During the one-day conference Mr. Vila also stressed the importance of the two states – France and Spain – working together with the shared goal of improving the flow of goods across their shared border, therewith strengthening the efficiency of the Mediterranean Corridor.
During the opening of the conference the European Coordinador for the Mediterranean Corridor Laurens Brinkhorst has also taken the stage, urging both governments and stakeholders in the project to build a “strong” and “lasting” lobby to improve the connection between the two countries.
The Stakeholder’s Forum is a body consisting of both public and private entities in France and Spain along the Mediterranean Corridor. It was created to review the different studies and proposals developed throughout the different phases of the project.
The second meeting of the forum discussed the current situation in the Mediterranean Corridor and the results of CLYMA project in relation to demand, the services offered, the market and the problems identified. Three roundtables were organized on: how to develop a green corridor; the relationship of the Corridor with the territories; and the resolution of difficulties along the CLYMA axis, such as the state of combined transport, access to the Port of Barcelona or the progress of the Corridor. All in all, more than 200 representatives from Spain and France attended the event, which took place in the World Trade Centre of Barcelona.
Throughout the event the importance of strengthening the rail freight sector was pointed out. José Llorca, the president of the Spanish State Ports (Puertos del Estado), informed the members of the forum that the Spanish government aimed to double the percentage of this type of transport by 2024 (from 4% to 8%). It was vital to invest in and develop the infrastructures in order to meet the requirements of trains coming from the rest of the continent, therewith ensuring that Spain becomes a geostrategic pole in the area.
Spain, located on the western edge of the Mediterranean Corridor, would need to take advantage of the existing rail links and thus become an industrial center in this area of Europe.
The Mediterranean Corridor, one of the nine core network corridors of the TEN-T, links the Iberian Peninsula with the Hungarian-Ukrainian border. It follows the Mediterranean coastlines of Spain and France, crosses the Alps towards the east through Northern Italy, leaving the Adriatic coast in Slovenia and Croatia towards Hungary. It generally consists of road and rail links (with the exceptions along the Po River and some canals in Northern Italy).