75% of commercial maritime traffic coming from Asia passes through the Mediterranean, but is diverted to ports in northern Europe

Santiago Garcia-Milà, sub-director general of Strategy and Trade of the Barcelona Port Authority brought the IDEC-UPF Master?s in International Business, specialising in Latin America, Europe and Asia to a close by delivering a conference on ?Mediterranean ports: constructing sustainable logistics?.

At the conference, Garcia-Milà raised the idea that the current European logistics map is not sustainable, since it is structured around 19th century trade flows. At present, international maritime container trade indicates that the greatest flow takes place in the Indian Ocean and reaches Europe through the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean (18.4 MTEU in 2008). In contrast, only 4.4 MTEU reached Europe in the same year through the Atlantic Ocean. Nevertheless, 75% of maritime traffic coming from the Indian Ocean is diverted towards ports in northern Europe, tracing out a non-sustainable logistics chain from an economic and environmental perspective.

Mediterranean ports are obliged to contribute to a more sustainable efficient European logistics system. According to Garcia-Milà, the future depends on changing this trend by providing a range of added value services, helping user companies of the ports to become more competitive. Barcelona Port has been working for some time on the preparation of such an offer so that companies such as Mango, Zara o Decathlon continue to rely on this infrastructure for reasons of efficiency in the logistics chain. Improved railway networks and priority goods corridors are also key factors to improving the positioning of our ports.

The benefits are not only financial but also environmental. The activating of this route would imply saving of 15% of CO2 and NOx emissions for cargo arriving from the Far East travelling to central Europe through southern ports. There would also be a reduction in the congestion of infrastructures in northern Europe, and in companies? logistics costs.

Throughout its existence, the IDEC-UPF Master?s in International Business has had more than 600 participants from 30 different nationalities, who have been endowed with a broad knowledge of international markets.