Trans-Iberian rail planned for 2020
A €500 million rail project stretching across the Iberian peninsula could transform Portuguese maritime trade and export, according to Blue Atlantic Industrial and Logistics Park.
A 94-km rail line between Évora-Elvas-Caia will link Portugal’s interior and Spain, creating a high-speed freight train connection to Portuguese ports including Setubal and Sines.
Blue Atlantic project lead Fernando Fernandes, based in Setubal, said the investment will create a new ‘international trade corridor’ connecting Portugal to the rest of Europe unlike ever before.
A public tender for track construction was launched this month at a special event in Elvas – attended by Portugal’s Prime Minister and his Spanish counterpart Mariano Rajoy, along with the European Commission’s head of transport Violeta Bulc. Work is expected to begin in March 2019 and completed by early 2022.
“This news comes as a major boost to Portugal’s port and maritime sector,” said Mr. Fernandes. “It will provide faster, easier and better access from key ports such as Setubal and Sines to distribution centres in the heart of Europe. It also greatly improves conditions for private investment, internationalisation and the export of products and services.
“Portugal is pole position for Atlantic trade on the western edge of Europe along major global shipping routes. Ports like Setubal, where Blue Atlantic is based, just 40km south of Lisbon, offer one of the fastest and most efficient routes in and out of Europe. A key benefit to importers and exporters is they can bypass the congested Mediterranean.
“Investment in the Évora-Elvas-Caia rail line will revolutionise on-land freight transportation from Portugal to Spain, which is a major advantage to Setubal being the second closest port to Madrid. Furthermore, it will create a new southern corridor to wider Europe, making Portugal even more attractive from an exports perspective.”