THE SITUATION OF THE RAIL FREIGHT TRANSPORTATION IN SPAIN

In my last post I talk about the train connection for goods transportation  between Spain and China. In my today post I am going to talk about the current situation of freight transport by train in Spain.

Freight transportation by train supposes already of the  5% of the spanish freight transport.  This number represents a value much lower than the european middle of railway transportation that is situated between 12 and 25%. The situation in EEUU is very different where the railway transport represents half of the freight transport (42%) in all the country.

The use of the train for move goods has grown slightly in the most developed european industries in the last years. With the exception of with the exceptions of Spain and France as is possible to say in the next chart.

cuotatren1Source: Eurostat

The railway sector has several problems that explains the low percentage on the total transportation in Spain. One of them is the low development of the private operators that report a strategy of low prices from Renfe Mercancias (Public Company). Thanks to this strategy private operators only control the 20% of the market share since the liberation of the market ten years ago.

In the next links is possible to see an interactive map of the number of freight trains that travel around Spain in two days (13-14 March, 2016) and a map of the spanish railways.

Interactive map: https://astroide.cartodb.com/viz/5b6b5838-1aa7-11e5-858b-0e018d66dc29/embed_map

Spanish railways: http://www.bueker.net/trainspotting/map.php?file=maps/iberian-peninsula/iberian-peninsula.gif

The spanish railway has to add some technique issues like the difference with the width of the european railway. This difference makes that the trains must do a change in the french border to connect with the european width with the corresponding loss of time.  Other problems are the low level of investment in contraposition with other government’s commitments like AVE.

Spanish freight trains have length limitations and they can not use wagons for transport two containers like in EEUU. In last years the main investments are located in connect the railways with the most important industrial centers and ports with the biggest volume of containers. Other point of investment are the logistic platforms and intermodal terminals with the intention of create an integrate and sustainable model of transport. In the following image is possible to see a doble-stack rail transport from EEUU.

800px-Cajon_Intermodal.jpg

Source: BNSF Railway

The low use  of train is doing that trucks are the kings of spanish transport. It goes against the european transport police that expects for 2050 the use of train and ships for distances of more than 300 km. The reduction of the truck’s transportation and the increase of the train will decrease the level of CO2 and will decrease the traffic problems.

With the underdevelopment of the rail transport Spain is losing the opportunity of be the gate for the goods that come from America and Africa to Europe.  It is important that administration and companies work together to achieve a better rail transport for have a more efficient transport and to get new opportunities of business. However is clear that is a hard work to do until take profit of the investments and achieve the grow of this sector.

Links of interest:

http://politikon.es/2011/05/05/la-asignatura-pendiente-del-ferrocarril-espanol-mercancias-i/

http://politikon.es/2009/09/05/trenes-y-mercancias-en-espana-i/

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