Thursday, September 16, 2021

First Ever European Energy Neutral Logistics Park is Under Construction

North African Traffic is Principal Target
Shipping News Feature

SPAIN – Ambitious plans for a logistics and industrial park which will generate more energy than it consumes have been announced by Paris based GROUPE IDEC. Covering more than 300 hectares it is situated in southern Andalusia.

The developer says geographically this is ideal as a pivot point between continents with direct access to major transport networks. With an eclectic mix of activities and services the energy dimension is also an integral part of the project since the goal is to achieve autonomy in terms of energy and to limit its carbon footprint.

Sitting in the space between the ports of Malaga and Algeciras, and the Atlantic and Mediterranean railway corridors the intention is to offer services to Europe and the rest of the world including, in particular, the ports in North Africa. The French group are in partnership with PUERTO SECO ANTEQUERA (PSA) with the Antequera dry port situated in the heart of Spain’s leading maritime zone. It benefits from the proximity of the ports of Algeciras, Malaga and Cadiz offering it access to the traffic passing through the Strait of Gibraltar which channels the greatest concentration of maritime exchanges in the world.

Furthermore, these ports are positioned at the meeting point between two railway corridors on the Atlantic and Mediterranean axes. They also benefit from privileged access to Europe and Africa in particular, and also to America and Asia from the Mediterranean and the Atlantic which makes it an ideal entry or exit gateway.

To achieve its avowed energy credentials the buildings will be constructed using sustainable materials that enter into a circular economy model. Locally produced energy can be pooled by all of the zone’s future users thanks to a complete geothermal system on the scale of the park. It will be possible to share or store any surplus energy produced, or to redistribute it via the national power grid. The park will capitalise on the wind, water and sun to produce sustainable energy. The possibility of installing a hydrogen power plant is also being examined.

Despite other interests, logistics will occupy a large part and the agribusiness sector will also have an important role to play in the park. Cadiz being Spain’s largest fishing port, and Algeciras the largest port through which the fruit and vegetables pass on their way out of North Africa, Antequera dry port enjoys a choice location in this sector owing to its proximity to those ports.

Notably the development will facilitate the installation of a training centre in an Employment Centre dedicated to the logistics professions, which will make it possible to support people looking for work locally and envisaged to create about 3,000 jobs. A programme will be put in place between the various companies present in the Employment Centre to pool jobs, which will help to secure precarious jobs and meet the seasonality challenges of certain activities present in the heart of the zone.

With a view to promoting research and innovation at the port and create an innovative and connected ecosystem, strategic collaborations with universities and research centres will be set up to put the latest technologies at the service of logistics. Furthermore, the park’s port zone status will enable businesses to benefit from a system where taxes and customs duties will only be payable when the products leave the zone, which has an impact on cashflow management.

This project has benefitted greatly from the support of the government of Andalusia which is extensively involved, in particular declaring this zone an ‘Area of Public Interest’, which has enabled the rapid urbanisation of the 300 hectares of land. It has also proposed the implementation of major infrastructure projects, a connection to the freight rail network and the development of road access thanks to the construction of a new motorway interchange.

For this scheme a joint initiative with the Andalusia Public Ports Agency has enabled the park to obtain port zone status which offers it all the advantages inherent to that status. The construction works on Antequera dry port began in June. The port will eventually cover more than 300 hectares of land, making 372,000 square metres of buildable land available for the first phase of the project. This stage will be organised around a 196,000 square metre multimodal railway terminal and other buildings.

A promotional video of the scheme can be seen HERE.