Direct rail link with China top priority at Spanish trade fair talks

(Xinhua) 10:09, June 08, 2024

BARCELONA, Spain, June 7 (Xinhua) -- Developing a direct rail link for the exchange of goods between China and Spain is a top priority, experts told Xinhua at the SIL international logistics trade fair in Barcelona this week.

From June 5 to 7, SIL brought together over 14,000 professionals in the international logistics sector. Top of the agenda at their talks was strengthening trade links with China, and in particular the Silk Road rail route.

Ignasi Sayol, president of the Logistic Cluster of Catalonia, told Xinhua that as a ship takes some 60 days to reach Spain from China, a direct rail route would be much quicker and therefore reduce costs.

"There's already a good rail link with China from the heart of Europe, but there are investors pushing hard to have a direct rail link from here, so traffic from Spain to China will only take between 17 and 19 days. There's a lot of interest," he said.

Xavier Mestre, head of logistics for TPNova rail operator, one of Spain's largest transport companies, explained that the Silk Road rail route connecting China with Europe avoids the sort of conflicts that are currently disrupting global shipping.

"Rail is an alternative to maritime transport, which as we're seeing with all the current global problems can be affected and turn into bottlenecks, but as long as no new conflicts break out rail does not have these problems," he told Xinhua.

TPNova this year opened a new rail goods service between Barcelona and the Chinese province of Shanxi, and it is expecting a new train from China next month.

Mestre explained that the project is still in its early stages, but in less than five years there could be frequent goods trains going back and forth between Barcelona and China.

SIL, the largest international logistics fair in southern Europe, this year welcomed industry professionals from over 90 countries. About 320 speakers addressed issues such as Green Logistics and the application of 4.0 technologies to the global supply chain.

"The connections with places like America and Asia, especially China and other countries in the Pacific region, show that everything is now global and interconnected, and that's what this international logistics fair celebrates," Pere Navarro, president of SIL, told Xinhua.

Some 650 companies took part in the logistics fair, presenting innovations including robotics, warehouse automation, the introduction of AI systems, and the use of Big Data.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Wu Chaolan)


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