The fact that logistics and transport in Aragon enjoy an increasingly powerful muscle is reflected in the progress of the different platforms in the region. From PLAZA, in Zaragoza, to Platea, in Teruel, the different nodes deployed throughout the territory announce from time to time expansions and the arrival of more companies. This situation is also reflected in Mercazaragoza and the city’s Maritime Terminal (TMZ), whose 10.5 million euro expansion works are already underway.
“The TMZ is the first inland railway terminal not only in Spain, but also one of the main ones in Europe,” said the mayor of the city, Jorge Azcón, during his visit to the works. According to him, this space operated in previous years about 3,500 convoys, which translates into “about ten trains a day”, a figure that brings together “50% of all maritime rail traffic by containers that the Community has”.
Doubling its capacity
The expansion that has already begun will double the terminal’s capacity, doubling the number of trains and increasing its container storage area by 20,000 square meters, which represents a 50% increase in its storage capacity.
Thus, of the 30,000 square meters dedicated to the expansion of the railway environment, 10,000 will go specifically to increase the length of the loading and unloading track, which will allow to operate trains up to 750 meters, instead of the current 550 meters, while the remaining 20,000 will be dedicated to increase storage space.
“These works that start today -on Tuesday- mean an investment of 5.5 million euros”, said Azcón about some works that will be developed “over the next four months”.
This first intervention will be followed by “another very important one”, with an investment of 5 million euros and which will be developed in 20,000 square meters of Adif land to turn the TMZ into a “through terminal”. That is to say, railway operations will be improved thanks to the fact that the trains “will leave towards the north without the need that existed now of having to turn back”, explained the councilor.
In total, the two phases of the expansion total 50,000 square meters (30,000 in the first phase and 20,000 in the second), which means that the TMZ will reach a surface area of 180,000 square meters.
“Extraordinarily good” news
“All the works we are doing in the TMZ position Mercazaragoza and the maritime terminal as one of the reference elements in maritime rail traffic in the whole Community, at the forefront of what is being done in Spain,” the mayor stressed.
The latest news about this space are, in the eyes of Azcón, “extraordinarily good for several reasons”. Among them, because the expansion of the TMZ “has been done in record time”, as has also been marketed quickly its use. “Now we are finishing the most important part with the railway works,” he added.
However, he recalled that “without companies that had bet on this expansion of the TMZ, it would be useless, so it was great news that Maersk, one of the leading shipping companies in the world, decided to take over all the meters of the terminal”. The mayor stressed that the installation of the Danish giant “will mean an investment of 20 million euros, the creation of one hundred jobs and position the TMZ even better than it was”.
It was in early October when Mercazaragoza’s executive committee approved the award of a 42,000 square meter plot of land, which represents the entire surface area of its expansion, to Maersk. This company is considered to be the world’s leading maritime transport operator.
The multinational is planning to build an integrated warehouse in Zaragoza that will help companies connect their logistics chains to and from Zaragoza, which will facilitate storage, consolidation and deconsolidation of cargo.
“The idea is that by 2023, all the works that depend on the Zaragoza City Council and Adif will be finished,” said Azcón, while announcing that Maersk “is going to start operating soon”. In this regard, he said that the company “has two projects, one cold and one dry”. In this respect, he specified that “the idea is that the cold one starts immediately”, while the dry one “is going to take a little longer”, although it will also see the light of day this year.
Aid for exports
“The important thing is that the implementation of Maersk, a reference company in international logistics and maritime traffic, will mean an added service to all companies, not only in Aragón, but also in the Ebro Valley, that want to export outside our borders,” he stressed.
TMZ has regular connections with the ports of Barcelona, Bilbao and Algeciras.
Algeciras, being the only terminal in Aragon from which regular trains depart to the latter destination. The consolidation of the activity and its growth data since its creation have reinforced the need for this expansion, as it has been at the limit of its capacity in recent years.
In fact, the TMZ is the first rail freight terminal of the European Mediterranean Corridor in terms of activity and capacity and is configured as an operational and administrative extension of the inland ports, promoting the creation of corridors with other inland rail enclaves and working on the development of international connections.
It was founded 21 years ago with the aim of developing Aragon’s international maritime trade through intermodality, and has already been expanded three times thanks to the growing demand from Aragonese companies for exports. This demand has also been boosted thanks to the terminal’s work as a catalyst for the Aragonese economy since the beginning of the
of the Aragonese economy since it began operations in 2001.
The terminal is 56.7% owned by Mercazaragoza, 21.5% by the Port of Barcelona and 20.5% by the Government of Aragon. In addition, there is a part of private partners that add up to 1.3%.