New Merida-Sines Port rail freight service launched

The National Spanish Railway Society (Renfe) and Portugese freight carrier Medway have launched a new rail freight service between Merida, in the Spanish region of Extremadura, and Sines Port (Portugal). The 22-wagon service, which takes nine hours, can carry 1,190 tonnes of cargo, mainly tomatoes and glass products.

With two weekly services, the hope is that this can be expanded to three as soon as possible. Medway and Renfe say they expect to carry 20,000 tonnes by the end of 2017. Both carriers want to offer refrigerated wagons and direct services to other Portugese ports, including Setubal and Leixoes, in the medium-term.

Major obstacle

This new service is having to contend with one major obstacle, as the locomotive must be changed on the frontier between Spain and Portugal. It demonstrates, however, the interest of Extremadura in using Portuguese ports as export gates, as reported on RailFreight back in October.

The new service also strengthens Merida´s cargo logistics area, which has 21,000 square metres and three rail tracks. Medway is banking on being an authentic Iberian (area formed by Spain and Portugal) player in the rail freight sector, after acquiring four locomotives ready to work across the territory. Medway is the new name of CP Cargo, the former rail freight division of the national Portuguese society Comboios de Portugal (CP). The Swiss sea shipping operator Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) bought CP Cargo to the Portuguese government in 2016.

Author: Jose Gutierrez

Jose Gutierrez is RailFreight's correspondent in Spain.

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