Barcelona - For two days, Barcelona has been the meeting point for over 300 leaders and for the logistics and transport sector institutions, gathered at the Mediterranean Logistic & Transport Summit, the largest European and Mediterranean platform organized in the framework of the 17th edition of the International Logistics and Material Handling Exhibition in Barcelona (SIL 2015). The Mediterranean Summit of Logistics and Transport is an initiative by the Association of Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASCAME), in collaboration with the Consortium of Barcelona Free Zones and SIL, which counts as institutional partner, the Chamber of Commerce Industry and Navigation of Barcelona.
The meeting began on June 9th, Tuesday, with the 13th edition of the Mediterranean Logistics and Transport Forum, under the title “New ambitions are born”. The summit focused on the implementation of the Euro-Mediterranean Association, 20 years after the launch of the Barcelona Process. The coordinator of ASCAME and of the Mediterranean Summit, Anwar Zibaoui, introduced the ceremony by highlighting that the EU should pay attention to the Mediterranean and confirms its strategic commitment to this region with acts, without forgetting the southern and eastern Mediterranean area.
With a trade exchange of 300.000 million €. , it’s one of the first socio-economic partners of the EU. He also highlighted the support of ASCAME to create a Mediterranean Logistics Agency, taking into account that the logistics is one of the main pillars to support the continued development of the Mediterranean economy and its competence indicator on a global level. Furthermore, he considered that the Mediterranean Corridor is not only a key for southern Europe and Spain, but it’s also essential for North Africa and for the development of its connections with the EU.The official opening ceremony of the Summit counted with the participation of the President of the Commission of Logistics and Transport of ASCAME, Mr. Seraffetin Asut, who, on behalf of the President of the Association, Mr. Mohamed Choucair, highlighted the role of ASCAME in promoting the logistics sector as a key element in the Mediterranean. Moreover, Mr. Asut said “it is important to create synergies between the projects of logistics and to strengthen cooperation between the Mediterranean countries, as strategic partners to create added value for the region”.
During the inauguration, Mr. Mario Aymerich, the Director of the European Investment Bank, presented the initiatives and the projects of infrastructure developed by the EIB in the Mediterranean region and Joan Ramon Rovira, Head of Cabinet for Economic Studies and Infrastructures at the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce, explained the business opportunities in the logistics sector. In addition, Mr. José Alberto Carbonell, the Director of the Port of Barcelona, highlighted the growth and development of the Port of Barcelona as an economic engine for logistics in the Mediterranean.
Finally, Jacques Sarraf, the President of BusinessMed, demonstrated how the Barcelona Process is a key objective for the Euro-Mediterranean regional integration. During the forum, representatives from various groups, institutions and companies in the Mediterranean affiliated to logistics, ports and transport, presented the business opportunities in the logistics sector in the regions of Egypt, of the Saudi Arabia and Morocco. Special sessions were focused on Egypt, Morocco and Saudi Arabia. During these sessions, the most important investment plans were presented, for example, the expansion of the Suez Canal, the TGVs and Metros.
In the case of Saudi Arabia, these projects aim to connect all the territory of Saudi Arabia. The event ended on June 10th, with the celebration of the 8th Mediterranean Port Summit. This forum is considered as the largest platform of the port sector and of business cooperation. Entitled “Looking beyond the Sea”, the forum opens the debate on the ports of the Mediterranean: a gateway to Europe, Asia and Africa; logistics in Morocco; Ports, cities, cruise tourism; business opportunities and experiences of companies in the transport and logistics sector in the Mediterranean.
The OPTIMED European project should be highlighted. Its objective is to optimize and to improve the maritime transport in the Mediterranean and to find new means of transport, especially between Italy, Lebanon, Spain and France. The importance of the cruise sector as an economic driving force for cities with main touristic ports was also stressed. Nowadays, the Mediterranean ranks second after the Caribbean in terms of volume of cruise passengers.
The Summit was attended by: senior representatives of the Governments of Algeria, Morocco, Egypt, Turkey, Spain, Lebanon, but also institutions such as the Suez Canal, Ports, the Academy of the Arab League of Merchant Marine, FERRMED, the EIB, the Union for the Mediterranean, the President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Jeddah, ICEX, the Port of Barcelona, EUROMED Invest, the Presidents of the Development Committee between the Mediterranean and the Gulf, BUSINESSMED and many companies like ALSTOM, Grimaldi, the Algerian group SNTE, RENFE, FGC, Idom, Dubai Port World, etc. On June 9th and 10th, ASCAME, SIL and the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce organized the “MEDA LOGISTICS AND TRANSPORT Roadshow” in the framework of the EuroMed Invest and OPTIMED projects funded by the EU.
Activities such as B2B meetings, B2Government, a networking space, workshops and presentations about investment opportunities in the countries of the southern Mediterranean have promoted economic exchanges between Northern and Southern of the Mediterranean. Lebanese, Turkish, Tunisian, Moroccan and Egyptian companies in transport and logistics sector met their Spanish and European counterparts. 300 companies that participated in eight sessions counted on the presence of more than 45 speakers and have achieved more than 250 programmed contacts.
In this 13th consecutive annual edition for the Mediterranean logistics and transport, more integration and a strengthening of infrastructure has been reclaimed by the regional private sector, in order to work for the great challenge to make the Mediterranean Sea, according to its extraordinary natural advantages, a major international logistics hub, a terrestrial, air and sea communications network, ultimately, a shared communications space primarily a bridge to approach the countries of the basin to the world and to each other.