MSC intends to construct an inland rail container terminal at Lousado, that is destined to become the largest dry port in Portugal. The company makes this significant investment through Medway, its rail freight operator in Iberia, to address the growing needs of exporters and shippers in the north of the country.
Northern Portugal accounts for about 39% of the national exports and 29% of the national economy and its main industries include textiles clothing, footwear and metallurgy as well as automotive components, pharmaceuticals, machinery, precision and communication equipment and computers.
The Lousado terminal will have an estimated area of 200,000 sqm and storage capacity of 10,000 TEU. Its six rail lines will be of a European standard of 750m each, serving 12 to 14 trains per day. The facility will have direct connections to the port of Sines, where MSC (through TIL) operates one of the largest container terminals in Portugal. It will also be connected to the main rail corridors, which would allow for trans-border service connecting the Iberian Peninsula to the rest of Europe.
The construction is said to commence as soon as the required licenses are approved, and MSC expects the Lousado terminal to be operational by March 2020.
Giuseppe Prudente, MSC’s Chief Logistics Officer, says: “Using the latest-generation technology, this will be among the most modern dry terminals in the world and the answer to the logistics needs of local companies, making exports and imports easier and thus contributing to the region’s prosperity.”
Portugal is planning major infrastructure investments to enhance rail connectivity, including 19 rail projects with a total budget of EUR 4.1 bln.
This project in particular is proceeding with the cooperation and support of public institutions, such as the local City Hall of Famalicao and Infraestruturas de Portugal. Its implementation will increase the use of electric railways compared to road transport, which will have a positive impact on traffic congestion and CO2 emissions, thus providing a more sustainable mode of freight transportation.
Medway holds a 90% share of the Portuguese rail freight market, it runs 100 trains per day. This dry terminal is part of the company’s major expansion plan in Portugal. Besides, Medway also operates in Spain, where it will be making further investments.