martes, 3 de septiembre de 2013



The worldwide increase in container traffic, and particularly in the Mediterranean, which accounts for more than 10% annually, justifies the construction of new transhipment ports in the Suez Canal and the Strait of Gibraltar. The Port of Cartagena is located in the western Mediterranean, in the influence area of the Strait of Gibraltar, and therefore represents a potential location of considerable strategic value for the construction of a logistic platform for the transhipment of containers, which is of great interest to the shipping companies that operate this type of traffic. Likewise, the current land connections with the rest of the peninsula by road and railway, as well as the future railway connections foreseen in the project of the Mediterranean railway corridor, which will connect Cartagena with the North of Europe, promote the export and import of products through the port. The attraction of transhipment and import-export traffic through the Port of Cartagena would involve an extraordinary opportunity of economic development for the Region of Murcia, by becoming a main node of the international logistic network.

The creation of container traffic would involve an important change in the port activity towards the clean traffic of general goods, in which the port operations and logistics add great value to the transport chain.

These actions have led the Port Authority of Cartagena, and its Board of Directors, which is made up by various administrations and institutions including the State Administration, the Regional Government of the Region of Murcia, the City Hall of Cartagena, the Chambers of Commerce, the business representatives of the Region of Murcia and the unions which represent most of the workers, to design a new strategic planning focused on locating an external basin, designed exclusively for the container and general goods traffic on the coast of Murcia.

The comprehensive studies carried out for choosing the site have led to the conclusion that the only and best location on the coast of the Region of Murcia is El Gorguel Bay. The main arguments for this are the following:

·        The bathymetry, since it has the necessary depth. It must never be over 50m., which would greatly increase the cost of the infrastructure and would make the project unfeasible, neither less than 25m. in order to have the greatest depth possible.
·        The easy access to the road and railway transportation networks. Nowadays a port cannot be developed without efficient connections to the national transport networks.
·        The possibility of building areas for logistic activities of up to 200Ha, in the surrounding area of the Escombreras Valley and El Gorguel.
·        The low seafloor environmental assessment…
·        … and zero interference of the coastal sediment transport, and therefore, causing no impact on the beaches of the area.

The new infrastructure that would be provided to operators is the following:

·        A high capacity Container Terminal: 2 million TEU in the first phase and 3.5 million TEU in the second phase.
·        A Multipurpose Terminal for clean traffic and 4 ro-ro berths.
·        A Logistic Activity Area covering from 70 to 200Ha.

The port would be located 1km. from the bay of Portman, with the entrance facing west, decreasing therefore the roughness of the sea inside the basin. Its construction would have no influence on the regeneration of the bay. In fact, it would favour the construction of the new planned marina.

The characteristics of the new port would be:

·        A surface area of 190Ha.
·        The main quay 1,465m. long.
·        Quays with surface area 3,295m. long.
·        Quays without surface area 1,000m. long.
·        A breakwater 4,670m. long.

The new basin would be connected by land through a road tunnel and a railway tunnel, preserving the Fausilla Mountains and linking the new external port to the regional, national and international land routes. This way the new terminal for ro-ro traffic would connect the land transport networks with the motorways of the sea fostered by the European Union, reducing the environmental impact produced by CO2 emissions generated by the means of transport.

The total investment foreseen exceeds 1,100 million Euros, which would be shared between the public investment, for which the Port Authority is responsible, and the private investment. The public investment in infrastructure for the complete development of the basin would be carried out in two phases, with a total cost of 650 million Euros. The private investment would finance the rest of the infrastructure, as well as the equipment of the terminal. The investment considers the construction of breakwaters, quays, land filling, pavements, facilities and all of the equipment necessary for the exploitation of the terminals such as the quay cranes, gantry cranes, platforms and trucks among others.

This project would create important business opportunities in many sectors, including activities related with the cargo, handling, storage, transhipment, consignment, quality control, mechanical inspection, machinery maintenance, financial institutions, hotels, restaurants and others. The study that has been carried out by the Technical University of Cartagena estimates an employment impact of 500 direct jobs once the port begins operations, to a total of more than 3,000 jobs once the basin of El Gorguel is working at full capacity. These permanent and qualified jobs would require the setting up of a specialized Training Centre, which would provide professionals the required knowledge for the development of the port activities such as: computer science, electronics, electricity, handling of machinery, insurances, logistics, cargo inspection or customs procedure.

For this reason the project is considered a unique opportunity for the Region of Murcia, the area of Cartagena, and particularly, for the towns situated near the new port.

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