European countries are embarking on the reconquest of the seas as a formula to reduce greenhouse gases generated by the transport of goods and people. This same week, the Embassy of the United Kingdom in Spain together with the international foundation Global Maritime Forum have presented a report that tries to promote the transfer of goods to maritime corridors, a new approach to reduce the impact generated by their transport by road.
Its main conclusion goes through the possibility of establishing three preferential maritime routes, originating in British ports and destinations Bilbao, Santander and A Coruña, which aspire to become ‘green corridors’ to expedite the shipment of goods and the passage of cruise ships between the two countries. To design this plan, the British government has carried out several surveys and held meetings with stakeholders in the global maritime industry and now hopes that public and private institutions work together. It does so after committing at the 26th Climate Summit, which took place in Glasgow, to promote ‘zero emissions’ transport by establishing green maritime corridors, a declaration to which Spain joined.
For these corridors to become established, it is necessary, above all, the involvement of the different figures that are part of this transport model: that the value chains collaborate with each other, viable routes in terms of fuel, demand for ecological shipments by of customers and favorable regulation. In 2018, the International Maritime Organization achieved a common strategy to reduce greenhouse gases caused by large ships, with a view to reducing their emissions by 50% in 2050 compared to 2008 data. However, the figures show what On the contrary: they could increase between 90% and 130%.
The EU looks at the Mediterranean
While the British decide what to do with their transport policies, the European Union accelerates in the same direction, but looks towards the Mediterranean Sea, whose ports and logistics centers have shown a great capacity to adapt to the great changes that logistics has been making. by ship. Recently, the transport ministers of the European Union together with 16 southern and eastern Mediterranean countries agreed to launch a new Regional Transport Action Plan, which seeks to promote multilateral cooperation until 2027 and accelerate collaboration between the countries involved.
That same plan includes a key initiative in pollution control. From 2025, the entire Mediterranean will be considered an ‘Emission Control Area’, with the aim of reducing sulfur oxide emissions by 80% by tightening the regulations on exhaust gases from ships. This initiative, which will force the use of marine fuel with low sulfur levels (it will go from 0.5% to 0.1%) will reduce emissions of harmful fine dust (PM 2.5) by 25% and reduce the acidity of water and soil.
Tunnel under the Strait and maritime highways
Spain’s demands, in this regard, include accelerating the development of the so-called “motorways of the sea” that allow Europe to be connected with the southern Mediterranean, improve connections between both parts of the globe and that the surrounding ports become platforms logistics of trade flows with Asia.
The Government of Sánchez also insists on the resurrection of a ‘star’ project that had been kept in a drawer for years: the fixed link between Spain and Morocco under the Strait of Gibraltar, which has already become one of the lines of work of the Ministry of Transport. A few weeks ago, the Secretary General for Transport, Carmen Librero, defended Spain’s interest in developing this underwater tunnel that will connect the two continents as a way of promoting “Euro-Mediterranean cooperation”.
Librero acknowledged that, although it is a very long-term project, the fact of working on it “represents an element of mobilization” and allows it to act as a “catalyst” to plan the infrastructures of the entire Mediterranean area. As recognized by the Ministry, Spain and Morocco are working on a joint work plan to execute this future infrastructure, an idea that would be announced in the future.