Barcelona Europe South Terminal, BEST, a subsidiary of the world’s leading port investor, developer and operator, Hutchison Port Holdings (“HPH”), today held a groundbreaking ceremony for the next phase of its development. The ceremony was officiated by President of the Government of Catalonia, Most Honourable Artur Mas i Gavarró, and the Group Managing Director, Mr. Eric Ip. It was attending local and state authorities including the Mayor of Barcelona, Xavier Trias; the Mayor of El Prat de Llobregat, Lluis Tejedor Ballesteros and the President of the Barcelona Port Authority Mr. Sixte Cambra.
HPH Managing Director – Central Europe, Clemence Cheng, said “Today’s ceremony signifies the extraordinary progress of BEST since its official opening in 2012. The productivity levels it has achieved in such a short period of time gave us optimism about its future potential. Despite some initial teething issues, I am now really proud to say that, with the strong commitment of Hutchison Port Holdings, the hard work of BEST employees, matched by the unwavering support of the Port of Barcelona, the local community and our customers, it is one of the best terminals in terms of productivity in the world.”
President of the Port of Barcelona, Mr. Sixte Cambra, thanked HPH’s executives for their long-term commitment to the Port of Barcelona and Catalonia, underlining that BEST is currently the main foreign investment in Catalonia, and he stated: “BEST is a landmark element of the Port of Barcelona’s enlargement and it enables us to increase our cargo capacity. This semi-automated terminal is the most advanced and productive in Southern Europe and it is instrumental to help us by projecting the Catalan economy to international markets. BEST proves that public and private collaboration is the way to develop complex projects with a successful result.
On completing the expansion work in the first quarter of 2015, BEST will have a contiguous 1,500 meters berth with a draft of 16.5 meters, allowing four mega-vessels to dock simultaneously. The expansion work will also see BEST’s yard equipment expand to include 11 Super Post-Panamax gantry cranes and 54 automated stacking cranes, distributed over 27 automated container storage blocks.
Mr. Guillermo Belcastro – Managing Director of BEST, said “Once this expansion is finished, which is planned for the first half of next year, BEST will feature 27 automated blocks and a 1.500 meter-long dock with a depth of at least 16 meters on the whole berth line, and 11 gantry cranes capable of operating the biggest vessels currently sailing, which will make this Terminal the only one in the region with this ability”
BEST is the first semi-automated terminal in the HPH Group and the most technologically advanced port development project in Spain. The Terminal has one of the most modern entry/exit gate complexes in Europe and one of the largest rail terminals at a container port with an eight-track railway facility with mixed gauge (Iberian and UIC), connecting BEST daily to many different destinations in Spain and Southern Europe.