Roy van den Berg

Intermodal transport specialist

A hinterland strategy works

In my previous job at the Port of Rotterdam Authority I was, to a large extent, involved in the development and execution of Rotterdam's hinterland strategy. This strategy was aimed at increasing the share of intermodal transport (i.e. barge and rail instead of road) to become more competitive, accessible and sustainable as a port. However, despite all the effort it proved to be rather difficult to increase especially the share of rail transport.

As part of my PhD research I executed a case study about the hinterland strategy of the Port of Barcelona. Ever since, Barcelona is my second favorite port and I followed the hinterland development of the Port of Barcelona with great interest. The Port of Barcelona Authority proved that a strategy which includes a strong focus on the hinterland can pay off. The results they have published in their annual reports throughout the years shows that they have been able to substantially increase the share of rail transport. The share of rail transport increased from 2.6% in 2007 to 12.5% in 2016, which is a great achievement. The table below provides more details on how they have progressed over the years. The investments they have made in the inland terminal in Zaragosa has been instrumental to create a network with connections to other regions in Spain.

Throughput statistics Port of Barcelona

For the years to come, I will continue to follow the developments at the Port of Barcelona with great interest because the difficult years for further increase of the share of rail transport are still to come. I am very curious if they will manage to realise a share of 15% or more.