Last week I read a really interesting reportage about all the controversy behind the absence of the corridor of the Mediterranean, which would connect Spain with the rest of Europe through railway. We talked about it in the topic of Transportation and I wanted to share it with you.
Since 1987 there is proposal for the Mediterranean rail axis, which would cover the 47 per cent of the population of Spain and half of the exports of this country. This project of how the railway connections with the rest of Europe should be remains stuck while the Central corridor option is revived, which would need an immense investment in a Pyrenean tunnel.
Europe bet for the Mediterranean Corridor meanwhile Spain is now supporting the idea of developing a Central Corridor. The truth is that the orographic, urban and social composition of the Mediterranean corridor gives it a vertebrate complexity from Almería (Andalucía) to France, but on the other hand, there are important metropolitan areas and powerful ports. The Central corridor would join points with less importance of regional traffic. It would link the nodes of Algeciras, Madrid and Zaragoza (which is the gravity centre of Spain). In this itinerary there are less urban areas, consequently it has abundant soil and few humanized areas that obstruct any ideal path.
Many companies which have to deliver products into Spain choose to do road transport in the absence of European gauge. This situation is aggravated by the saturation of the road in some points of Catalonia such as Castellbisbal and the single-lane stretch between Tarragona and Vandallós. Companies complain about that the line from Tarragona to Andalucía, passing through Madrid, always has four lines in almost all its routs, whereas the Mediterranean corridor has one line ( in many kilometres, with only one way) and there are even areas where the line does not exist.
Reading so far, is it clear that there is an urgent that need to be solved, but the inefficiency of Spanish politicians in arranging a deal with the European authorities is delaying the solution.
Nowadays the map of the Central corridor is unfinished. Its integration in the framework of the Trans-European Transport Network makes its connection with France very greedy with the projection. The bottleneck of the Pyrenees would be eliminated crossing the central massif through a tunnel. This corridor would have a great capacity and would make possible to decongest the roads of Euskadi and Catalonia, where large columns of trucks are being formed each day. Central corridor supportes give an argument which is based on the fact that 75 % of transport and distribution companies-national and international- are based in Madrid. They say that it is a comercial muscle that translated in the capital “has more than 38 million square meters dedicated to the logistics-the greater surface in Spain”.
From the Chambers of Commerce of Valencia and Barcelona (which obviously are Mediterranean Corridor supporters) recall that 55 % of the volumen goods transported in Spain are carried out by the Mediterranean corridor and its ports channel 60 % of the Spanish maritime traffic. This number has increased up to 39 % in the last nine years, far from 22 % of the Spanish average. In this sense, they justify the need for the Mediterranean Corridor to “maintain its growth and development progressions”, which they ensure that it is limited by the “limits imposed on it” by railway infrastructures.
In this whole matter there are hidden political interests that have caused that for more than 20 years have lost 50 M of euros due to the inefficiency of the logistical transport of the country.