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Rail transport, the key to turning Spain into a logistics platform intercontinental

David Martinez, CEO of Proequity.

Madrid, 07 February 2023.

Logistics activity in Spain belongs to a growing economic sector, with a strategic importance for industry, commerce and the economy. As it is closely linked to the transport sector, it needs to be a solid, competitive and strong instrument, allowing it to retain and generate economic activity.

Two interconnected sectors that, in 2020, exceeded 58,962 million euros in production, according to the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda.

Land transport is one of the most widely used modes for the internal movement of goods. Most of these journeys are made by road, which entails a series of costs that are not only economic, but also environmental. Official bodies advocate the use of rail transport, which currently accounts for only 4% of the tonne-km transported. Therefore, it is feasible to consider rail transport as a better option based on efficiency and sustainability criteria.

Over the last few years, we have witnessed various plans and measures to promote the share of rail freight. In this line, private operators were allowed to enter the market and their share has increased to 33% today. However, this measure did not manage to boost the total volume of goods transported. Year after year we see the figures for rail logistics stagnating, which leads us to ask ourselves what aspects are hindering the growth of this type of transport.

If there is one thing that hinders the growth of rail transport, it is undoubtedly the infrastructure. Spain's territorial characteristics, together with its current economic situation of rising costs, mean that major investment is needed to solve the problems that limit the potential of rail transport.

These problems are, for example, the difficulty of interoperability between countries, the lack of connection with the main logistic areas, the maximum length of circulation, the limited resources of the existing rail terminals or the numerous conditions required of private operators. In addition, the technical conditions of the rail network, such as gauges, gradients or the length of sidings, should also be improved.

However, it is not only the transport sector that needs upgrading, logistics terminals should also adapt their facilities and improve their connections with the rail network, seeking order and functionality within the national logistics map.

In this way, they could increase competitiveness within the sector, with multimodal and intermodal chains, which present better advantages for logistics operators.

Intermodality is considered a strong ally of mobility in Spain, as it favours a better use of the capacities of transport systems, reducing pollution and energy consumption. However, in order to achieve maximum efficiency, it is necessary to boost rail transport, which still fails to achieve values similar to those of other European countries. Once again, we find ourselves in the same situation, with a need for investment in rail infrastructure that enhances its main advantages, such as its profitability over distances of more than 700 kilometres, or cost savings of up to 53% from 1,600 kilometres onwards.

The potential of rail freight transport is still untapped. Within such a strategic industry and with such potential, it is key to positioning.

Spain as an intercontinental logistics platform, making investment in the sector a profitable geo-strategic commitment. In pursuit of these objectives, it is becoming increasingly common for government entities to allocate part of their programmes to promoting alternative means of transport, with the ultimate aim of boosting the Spanish railway system and encouraging its transition to a more sustainable sector. Therefore, we can expect further development of this format in the coming years, thus attracting new projects and investment.

Aware of the economic and strategic importance of rail transport in Spanish logistics activity, it is the sector's duty to support and promote different initiatives to achieve its full potential and position itself as a European benchmark in freight transport.

About ProEquity

ProEquity is the leading consultancy firm in real estate operations in the industrial and logistics sector. Founded in 2008 in an adverse scenario for the development of a new business, the company has been able to adapt to the demands of the market.
of a changing market.

The team that makes up the entity has more than 20 years of extensive professional experience in different segments of the real estate sector. This allows it to offer a comprehensive advisory service to its clients with the aim of obtaining the best results for their real estate projects, which range from the purchase, rental or development of initiatives for the creation of warehouses or turnkey logistics platforms. Likewise, advice is also provided on investment, land or the development of works.

In this way, Proequity has offered services to a wide range of clients, including investment funds, retailers and logistics operators, among others.

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