Francisco Toledo emphasizes efforts to strengthen Castellon´s port in response to COVID-19, and supports the rescheduling of the plans related to the Port Castello railway
The President of OPPE participates in discussions organized by the Castellon Propeller Club
The President of the State Ports Public Agency (OPPE), Francisco Toledo, has emphasized efforts to strengthen Castellon´s port in the face of the crisis caused by COVID-19, though the port sees one of the smallest decreases in traffic, at 4.3% compared to the 10% seen by the total port system. In fact, only six ports are in better standing than Castellon´s, ¨and this should take into account the fact that, during this time, docking ceased at MSC; once this resumes, we will see the numbers improve¨.
These figures are a result of ¨the good work done by both the Port Authority and its Community Port¨, which in February allowed for a new record number of freight traffic, so that ¨the impact of the Coronavirus was less devastating than in other waterways in the system¨.
The President of the OPPE has praised the work carried out by Spanish ports during COVID-19, stating that ¨they have been crucial in the country’s ability to continue functioning¨, and that now is the time for the port system to ¨contribute to the revival of the economy by increasing its investments and developing a plan, taking into consideration the endowment of four billion euros¨.
The President of the OPPE has also highlighted the aid given to the port sector, approved by the Council of Ministers to alleviate the effects felt from the COVID-19 crisis, which is expected to save the organization 138 million, based on reduction of fees, and 250 million in allowances made for the delayment of payments to the Port Authority. ¨All of this has been done to avoid the destruction of the logistical network, and to promote the return to previous activity as soon as possible¨. He also mentioned the recent amendment to the law which requires ports to fully pay corporation taxes, whereas they previously received exemption. Given that the Port Authority will know ahead of time the tax deductions which are applicable to them, this will give them a stable framework with which to construct their budget for the following year.
On the other hand, Francisco Toledo believes that the Port Castello rail plan will face delays caused by technical difficulties and the lay off of railway personnel due to the national state of alarm. This plan envisages the planning of three productive infrastructures which will position the port of Castellon as one of the best connected ports in the country: internal connections between the two docks, access to the south rail, and an intermodal station. The Port Authority of Castellon, in partnership with the State Ports, will create a timeline for the execution of the project, with the intention of accompanying them in time, ¨given that, completed alone, none of the projects hold much value¨.
Francisco Toledo has laid out his main plans of action in front of the State Ports, including investments in security, digitalization, and sustainability. He is expected next week to introduce the new Strategic Framework, which will detail ¨the new ports we want to have on the horizon in 2030¨.
The meeting will take place in Santander and will bring together the heads of all Spanish Port Authorities.
Additionally, Toledo has outlined other urgent tasks for the port system, including ¨Puertos 4.0¨, a multiannual investment plan, regulation regarding Exploitation and Policing, speeding up the resolutions of concessional extension periods, and the 5th Framework Accord on the regulation of labor as is relates to storage.