BARCELONA, Spain, Nov. 16 (Xinhua) -- A new direct freight rail service now connects the port of Barcelona in Spain with the cities of Toulouse and Lyon in France without the need for transfers or changes of locomotive.
The first direct freight train left the Hutchison Ports BEST semi-automated terminal on Nov. 8 and the trains will now run four times a week, three times to Toulouse and once to Lyon.
Global logistics company Maersk operates the new rail service in cooperation with APM Terminals Railway Spain, Hutchison Ports BEST and Naviland Cargo.
"It has taken us many years and all the people present here have spent many years working to get where we are today," Lluis Salvado, president of the Port of Barcelona, said at the launch of the new service.
This is the first regular box service on Spain's railway network provided by 750-meter-long trains, the maximum length allowed in Europe.
This will allow for a capacity of 108 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) per journey compared to the average of 68 TEUs on usual convoys around 500 meters in length.
Barcelona is the only port in Spain with a UIC (International Union of Railways) European gauge connection, the continent's standard rail track width, from the terminal to the border with France. ■