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Med shortsea traffic on the rise due to China decoupling

Photo: Marcus Hand Jordi-Torrent-Port-of-Barcelona.jpg
The Port of Barcelona is seeing the effects of much talked nearshoring with production shifting from China to Turkey and Morocco as well as countries in Southeast Asia.

Speaking at the TOC Europe session - The Role of Infrastructure in the Supply Chain -  Jordi Torrent, Head of Strategy for the Port of Barcelona and Secretary General of Medports said it is seeing evidence of decoupling of decoupling from China.

“What analysts are saying that is happening with trade, tension between the US, China, Europe is this really having an impact on our ports,” he said.

China clearly remains the largest importer and exporter with Spain, but numbers show increased trade within the Med region. While in the last three to four months this may have been due to Cape of Good Hope diversions, Torrent said there had been an increase in Med traffic over the last two years, in particular with Turkey and Morocco.

Looking at Turkey he highlighted the move of production from Asia to Turkey by Inditex, the company behind brands such as Zara, Colombia, Massimo Dutti. By moving production to Turkey and similar countries Inditex is closer to its global logistics facilities in Spain.

He said they are seeing a similar impact with increasing traffic with Morocco, as well as companies moving production from China to Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand and Vietnam. “So, this is forcing us, the ports, the terminals, to adapt our infrastructure.”

One such example is increasing ro-ro traffic and the Port of Barcelona will tender for its third ro-ro terminal in the coming weeks. The port is seeing an increase in trucks coming from Turkey and Morocco and finished automobiles in car carriers from Asia – primarily electric cars from China.