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Spanish Shortsea Promotion Center – SPC Spain

PRESS RELEASE (86 downloads )

Our association aim is facilitating the development of competitive multimodal transport chains with significant participation of the maritime mode.
Its objectives and main activities are:

  • To make shippers, road hauliers and logistic operators aware of the SSS possibilities.
  • To gather and provide information about available services and SSS’s potential for with Spain.
  • To identify and analyze problems or obstacles that can affect the competitive position of SSS.
  • To develop report and analysis to the Administration and the industry.
  • To promote strategic alliances among transport chain operators with a multimodal perspective of short sea shipping.

Definition of the SSS

The European and Spanish regulation in force define Short Sea Shipping (SSS) as the movement of cargo and passengers by sea between ports situated in geographical Europe or between those ports and ports situated in non European countries having a coastline on the enclosed seas bordering Europe.

This SSS concept involves domestic and international maritime transport, including feeder services, along the coast, to and from the islands, rivers and lakes and also extends to maritime transport between the Member States of the Union and Norway and Iceland and other States on the Baltic, Black and the Mediterranean seas.

Therefore, this legal SSS concept includes practically all the maritime traffic with no transoceanic origin or destination to/from European ports. In particular, it includes national maritime cabotage of every country and, especially, maritime regular services between mainland and islands ports of the same country. In Spain for example, liner maritime services between the Canary and Balearics islands and the Iberian peninsula fit into the legal concept of SSS and stand out both for his(her,your) regularity and for his(her,your) high frequency.

Nevertheless, in the practice, the logistic SSS concept finds its best application as an active transport policy in those transport relations in which there exists a pure land transport alternative. There SSS aims to the formation of sea-land door to door transport chains where the maritime and land transport modes -especially road transport- co-operate to build a multimodal competitive transport solution by getting the optimum combination of the advantages of both transport modes (this is the modern European concept of Comodality).

SSS, an opportunity for Spain

To facilitate the development of SSS it is essential fundamental promoting the intermodal characteristics of the transport systems, that is to say, the complementarity of the maritime and land transport modes. In this respect, especially relevant are regular maritime ro-ro services (roll-on/roll-off: cargo is loaded and unloaded by rolling) in which road hauliers use the maritime transport as an alternative infrastructure to the road, facilitating the operations of loading and unloading of trucks or trailers in comparison to the lo-lo type operations (lift on-lift off).

As examples, and in relation to Spain, the following big arches have special relevancy:

– EuroMediterranean arch, where there already exist regular SSS services oriented to complementing road transport with daily frequencies, which proves their technical – economic viability and their potential for future development. Annually, more than 4 million tons transported in trucks use these maritime services instead of moving across the frontier passages, particularly La Junquera.

– Atlantic arch, being the European ports of the NortAtlantic arch (including the North Sea) those who offer the largest cargo concentration, due to their proximity to the largest production and consumption areas. They offer good possibilities to consolidate already existing SSS services with other more peripheral ports, as it is the case of those located in the Cantabrian area.

On the other hand, in the Mediterranean area, the impulse of SSS must also pay attention to the possibilities of connection between the European and African continents. It is an essential link for the logistic chains that arise from the economic development of the Maghrib (Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria), both for their own potential and for the relocation of many European productive centers in this geographical area. The network of regular ro-ro, container and passenger shipping services becomes increasingly dense every year and it is a fruit of the partnership between ports and shipping operators of the EuroMediterranean area, increasingly consolidated and with perspectives to conform a free-trade zone.

In order to evaluate the potential development of SSS in Europe is it is also necessary to make reference to the corridor connecting the Iberian peninsular with the rest of Europa, along which Spain and Portugal exports and imports to/from the rest of the European continent are transported. As in other corridors, road transport has been getting a strong share in these flows, especially following the adhesion of Spain and Portugal to the European Union in 1986. Annual growth rate increased from 2,8 % in that year to an average  8,4 %, generating nowadays a volume of traffic of about 120 million tons/year in both senses. This generates an average daily flow of about 20.000 trucks across the frontier passages of La Junquera and Irún, with the consequent external effects derived from the congestion. The development of regular SSS services oriented to the needs of road transport operators constitutes an alternative of sustainable mobility.

SSS represents a business opportunity, especially regarding the possible creation of a Mediterranean free trade area and the entry into force ot the so-called “European Common Maritime Spaces Without Frontiers” that will eliminate restrictions to the development of these type of services and will allow to increase their quality/cost ration, making it more competitive.

Shipowners, shippers, road hauliers, ship agents, freight forwarders, shipping operators, etc. all transport agents have the opportunity to contribute to a common interest: a multimodal alternative and sustainable transport and an opportunity of business in the European and international scene.

Spanish Shortsea Promotion Center – SPC Spain

It was in this context of co-operation between the different economic agents participating in the multimodal sea-land transport chain (comodality) that SPC-Spain was established in 2002.

From its constitution, the Association has consolidated with a series of activities that they have contributed to the dissemination of the SSS concept, of the advantages and opportunities that it offers, and to the necessary coordination among the different agents who integrate the sea-land multimodal chain.

The productive economy continues demanding multimodal transport solutions with efficiency as an increasingly strategic key competitive factor. In this complex scenario, there are prospering, not without difficulties, initiatives of collaboration between shipping operators, the port community and road transport that demonstrate that coordination, mutual knowledge and search for the common interest are necessary conditions for an ideal sea-land intermodality  (Comodality European concept).

For this reason, SPC-Spain keeps as consolidated meeting forum for all the economic public and private agents in the search of the above mentioned common interest in the SSS development. Areas such as training, coordination, identification and promotion of viable initiatives to materialize the potential of shipping in the intermodal context, in order to, in cooperation with land transport, help to deploy integral door to door services, while respecting in any case the aims and competences of each one of its members.

An updated list of members and their contact data can be found [here]. The Executive Commission comprises the Presidency, currently held by ANAVE and two Vice-presidencies, held by CETM and Puertos del Estado.
SPC-Spain is open to new members, on the basis of a minimum annual contribution of 2.000 euro, being possible to subscribe from 1 to 10 contributions, each one giving right to 1 vote in the General Assembly.

European Shortsea Network

Due to intrinsically international character, a purely national approach is not sufficient for the effective promotion of SSS. Promotion and information actions must be developed at both ends of the chain.

In March of 2001, existing promotion centers and the European Commission agreed the establishment of a coordinated action of these centers, by creating the European Short Sea Network (ESN), in order to reinforce their individual actions. The Spanish association belongs to the ESN from March 2002.

Each national association keeps its Independence but, for image purposed, they use a common English name: Shortsea Promotion Centre – Country, so that the Spanish association is Shortsea Promotion Centre – Spain.
The European Shortsea Network Internet site gives neutral information on the possibilities of shortsea shipping in Europe: