On May 9, the Círculo Ecuestre held the Barcelona, Capital of Logistics colloquium with the main actors in the Barcelona logistics system: Blanca Sorigué, general director of the Barcelona Free Trade Zone Consortium; Eva Valenzuela, director of the Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport; Raül Blanco Díaz, president of RENFE, and Guillermo Belcastro, CEO of Hutchison Ports BEST.

After the welcome from the president of the Círculo Ecuestre, Enrique Lacalle, the speakers began a conversation with the journalist Lalo Agustina, who served as moderator of the event.

Blanca Sorigué was the first of the speakers to start the conversation by saying that “the logistics of the city has grown significantly in recent years” and that, in that sense “it has to be the real subject of the day-to-day life of the territories, the legislation and the media". Following the words of her fellow speaker, the director of Barcelona Airport, Eva Valenzuela, defended that “Barcelona Airport is a very well-positioned airport in the European ranking” and that “it has first-class logistics infrastructure and that is we have to value it because it can contribute a lot".

For his part, Raül Blanco called to “reclaim intermodality as a special wealth in Catalonia and Barcelona, which is where the logistics capital that will make us grow will come from”. “The air, the sea and the land are totally complementary, he added. The president of RENFE informed the attendees that “Barcelona has more and more competition” and that, in that sense, “we have to work continuously and sustainably mobilizing public and private investments in all senses, since it is the basis to grow and guarantee capital”.

Guillermo Belcastro, the only representative of a private company at the round table held at the Círculo Ecuestre, valued the “location as Barcelona's greatest attraction for its growth”. Likewise, he assured that "given the great European development, Hutchison came to Barcelona to develop one of the most efficient terminals, integrating automation in southern Europe and developing infrastructure, such as larger and deeper docks". The CEO of the company also declared that “Barcelona has an airport, port and large facilities that form a cluster in just a few kilometers” and that “today, the Mediterranean corridor is already operating”.

Asked about the challenges facing logistics in Barcelona, the speakers outlined the situation faced by the infrastructures they represent. Eva Valenzuela said that “at the airport we have the challenge of capillarity, of having sufficient connections”. “The more hub we become, the more we will consolidate air cargo”, he declared, later adding that “decarbonization, process optimization and digitalization” are also “important challenges that air infrastructure is facing and that is taken seriously through a strategic plan”.

Regarding the question asked by the moderator, Blanca Sorigué expressed that one of the logistics challenges faced by the company she represents is “attracting talent and investment so that large companies decide to set up shop in Barcelona”. According to the expert, “this will mean a digitalization of the supply chain and that better professionals specialized in new technologies will choose to stay in Barcelona and decide to start a business in Barcelona, not just stay”.

The president of RENFE was in favor of the statement of the general director of the Free Trade Zone Consortium and added that “logistics is a social solution for creating jobs”. In turn, he explained to the public that “the logistical challenge of the railway is to guarantee the reduction of emissions”.

Regarding the expansion of the Barcelona Airport, one of the most anticipated questions by the audience at the event, Eva Valenzuela said that Aena's position is to “adapt the infrastructure of the Barcelona Airport so that it can be considered an intercontinental hub”, made that “will allow air cargo to be consolidated”. Given this, Raül Blanco expressed that “if we want Barcelona to be a logistics capital we have to overcome the culture of no and expand the airport and port”, among other infrastructures.

Bringing the question to his own attention, Guillermo Belcastro said that “Barcelona is a city with a port, but not a port. We have to make it sexier and attract a couple of unicorns”.

Blanca Sorigué, for her part, opted to “develop the logistics land in Barcelona, which is still scarce, and make more mixed use of it”. In addition, she called for a “greater public-private alliance to improve the city's logistics and promote its growth”.