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Integration in the transport system. Sustainable mobility

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Current road and train access routes and intended courses of action and incentives for the intermodal port-railway system (I_22)

The main accesses to Huelva Port by road are the A-49 (Sevilla-Huelva-Portugal), via the N-441 (from the North), H-31 (from the East) and the H-30 (Huelva’s “Ronda Este”), which extends further south with the N-442, which provides access to the Outer Harbour. The N-345 (from Badajoz and Zafra to Huelva) is also important to Huelva Port in terms of its connection to Extremadura, and it connects to the A-49 in San Juan del Puerto, as is the N-431 (Huelva-Portugal) and the A-494 (from San Juan del Puerto to Matalascañas via Mazagón), the A-5000 (from Huelva to San Juan del Puerto), the A-5025 (from the A-494 to the N-442 via La Rábida) and the A-497 and the A-492 which, by means of the bridges over the River Odiel, connect the port area to Punta Umbría and other points on Huelva’s western coast.

Most of the intended work for Huelva Port in terms of external road system connections is to provide a good level of service on the A-49, and on the N-435 towards Extremadura – specifically, continuation of work to extend the capacity of the A-49 on its busiest sections, and upgrading of the N-435 (future A-83), starting with the Trigueros and Beas bypasses, which are nearly completed.

The service area’s inner roads also have good potential to provide an excellent service. Its main routing is the itinerary comprising Avenida de Hispanoamérica, Avenida Francisco Montenegro (road to Punta del Sebo) and the Tinto Bridge, linking inner docks and the Outer Harbour. Huelva Port is linked to the general-interest railway line operated by ADIF via the general system’s connection line, with the Huelva Mercancías logistics rail terminal nearby which dispatches, receives and classifies goods, with a self-provisioning management option.

With respect to internal road network connections, the following have been planned as special-interest projects: doubling the size of the N-442, especially up to Calle A in the Nuevo Puerto complex, and the new bridge over the River Tinto, with a connection for the A-494 on the Palos de la Frontera bypass, to the H-30 (Huelva's Ronda Este).

Current road and train access routes and intended courses of action

National highway 442 runs between Huelva and Mazagón and is extremely busy, with a large amount of heavy goods vehicles from the industrial complex containing the CEPSA refinery and the Enagás regassing plant, and indeed Huelva Port’s entire outer dock, featuring the southern dock, used for general goods and containers and the regular ferry line. This is also an area with growth potential and enormous future opportunities for Huelva Port. It is also particularly busy during the summer months, since it is the main route between Huelva and the beaches at and around Mazagón.

This makes it necessary for the entire road to be widened, and there have been plans to do so for more than a decade, along with reorganisation of all accesses to the N-442 by means of service routings, eliminating a number of intersections or replacing them with connections (at different levels) and a boost to capacity, not to mention a second bridge over the River Tinto to ease traffic and provide escape routes for emergency situations.

For Huelva Port, public investment focusing on better road and rail connectivity with the centre of the peninsula via Sevilla is a strategic concern, as the “V Centenario” road (A-49) is now quite congested.

Work has already begun on “Access and road reorganisation to the future logistics activity area at Punta del Sebo – Phase 1”, pursuant to the conclusions of the Feasibility Survey, Location and Design of a Logistics Activity Area at Huelva Port, which would create a new logistics node to back up industry and logistic and economic sectors in Huelva province. This project covers the needs and expectations of all interested parties in the province: the port community, transport and logistics associations, industrial associations, the Chamber of Commerce and the IDEA Agency, among others.

With respect to rail connections, the Huelva Port Authority has operated an agreement with ADIF since 2011. This regulates the functions of the rail administrator at the port, and establishes the way in which the connection is made to the general-interest rail network, pursuant to Railway Sector Law 38/2015 of 29 September repealing Law 39/2003.

For the period 2018-2022, Huelva Port has an investment plan to improve railway accessibility, in projects both inside the Port’s service area and at major locations outside this area (7.5 M€). The first phase of the Majarabique rail terminal has now been completed, with a total budget of 3.5 million euros.

The Port of Huelva being included in the Atlantic Corridor of the Trans-European Transport Network in 2018 and its extension to the Canary Islands will begin to be felt between 2021 and 2027.

In addition to the Atlantic Corridor, Huelva Port continues to consolidate its position in the Mediterranean Corridor by means of the Majarabique rail terminal (located in Sevilla), and its link to Extremadura via the Huelva-Zafra rail routing.

This gives Huelva Port excellent land connectivity with its hinterlands, especially by rail. It is nevertheless advisable to continue to work on projects that will increase the capacity of these infrastructures for the new rail transport standards.

At Huelva Port itself, the main objective of the Intermodal Platform co-financed by the CEF Programme (Connecting Europe Facility) is to improve transport potential in southwest Europe thanks to development of intermodality and connectivity at the Port.

Port of Huelva

The Southern Dock’s intermodal rail terminal, with a 12 million euro investment package, comes in response to the strategic lines established in the HPA’s 2012-2017 Strategic Plan looking forward to 2022, it guarantees maximum connectivity and efficiency in the management of rail traffic, and is perfectly synchronised with the Majarabique rail terminal also has a direct connection to Extremadura to complete the connectivity of this major rail hinterland.

The Huelva Port Authority took the following courses of action on this project in 2019:

  • The work to reorganise and improve the access to the South Wharf began.
  • The work to widen the last section of the access road to the South Wharf began.
  • Study for the location of a heavy vehicle lorry park near to the Ingeniero Juan Gonzalo Wharf.
  • Work begun on the Phase II perimeter enclosure, where fibre optic was installed and systems integrated in the Smart Port.
  • Publication of the call to tender for the II Management and Control systems for the Port of Huelva railway network.
  • III Intermodal Platform project symposium, with the participation of the Atlantic Corridor coordinator and the Balearia CEO.

Courses of action by the Huelva Port Authority in 2019

The solid bulk goods unloading facility is 40 m long, and is used for direct unloading of bulk goods arriving at the terminal by train, with no need for any truck transportation.

The design of the facility includes a road access for 14 m trucks, and also has a rail access consisting of a circuit in which 750 m trains can manoeuvre, park and unload without interfering with general activities at the port.

Solid bulk goods unloading facility

Furthermore, it should be noted that the I-RAIL (Interoperability of the rail system with TAF TSI in TEN-T Corridors) project was approved in 2019. Led by the ValenciaPort Foundation and whose participants include some of the main stakeholders of the freight transport sector of Spain, Portugal and Italy, with the support of the European Union Agency for Railways and the Spanish Rail Safety Agency, the project seeks to improve interoperability in the exchange of information in the European rail freight services by means of digitalisation and the use of the TAF and TSI technical standards (defined in the Interoperability Directive 797/EC/2016) and to make freight transport by rail more competitive, both in terms of cost and time.

The Port of Huelva is also taking part in the ECO-GATE ("European Corridors for Natural Gas Transport Efficiency") project. It is studying how to make the natural gas and conventional vehicle market and its connection with the European corridors more efficient, by means of developing new technologies and innovative solutions for the logistic supply services, clean fuels, refueling infrastructures, vehicle and component manufacturers, and operational processes.

This project is co-funded by the CEF (Connecting Europe Facility) Programme and is being implemented in the 2017-2020 period. The total investment involved is €19,720,834 (Funding awarded: €9,860,417). The ECO-GATE project is made up of a consortium of 24 entities from four countries: Spain, France, Germany and Portugal. Nedgia is the project coordinator. The consortium members include natural gas operators, technology and service providers, end users and market & promotion experts.

In 2019, the Port of Huelva conducted a study that included a demand study, a cost-benefit analysis and a plan to develop a future gas fuelling station at the Port of Huelva. It also took part in the project communication and dissemination projects, including participation in the "ECO-GATE consortium activities" webinar, when it provided an overview of the Port of Huelva and its future developments in the field of Vehicular Natural Gas.

Similarly, the LNGHVE2 Logistics Solutions project began at the end of 2018. Its aim is to give Spain the opportunity to offer a comprehensive solution for the new requirements of the maritime and rail sectors. The activities to be implemented include adapting the LNG regasification plant at the Port of Huelva, so that it can offer bunkering and small scale services; the construction of an LNG bunkering barge and the introduction of LNG as fuel in a maritime-rail green corridor between the Port of Huelva and the Majarabique dry port in Seville, by means of retrofitting a diesel engine to LNG and the construction of a gas fuelling station at the Majarabique rail terminal.

Huelva Port Authority is the driving force behind the setting up of an integral logistic green corridor between the two intermodal platforms managed by Huelva Port Authority, which are the South Wharf at the Port of Huelva (port of the TEN-T basic network) and the Majarabique Intermodal Rail Platform in the province of Seville (strategic point within the Mediterranean Corridor of the TEN-T Nework), using LNG as fuel for rail traction. This action will make the Huelva-Seville Corridor more competitive, both in terms of costs and of environmental savings, ensuring the corridor is more competitive and, consequently, increasing the modal transfer from road to rail. The APH will work closely with ENAGÁS, RENFE and ADIF in this regard.

During 2019, work was carried out on developing the operating and economic model of the locomotive engine, along with embarking on the engineering, which is expected to be included during the first half of 2020. Converting the locomotive engine to LNG and installing LNG tanks are within the scope of the project, along with the locomotive training, accreditation and integration processes.


Boost to traffic handled by roll-on roll-off systems (I_23)

The first roll-on roll-off milestone was reached in 2011 with the introduction of the Naviera Armas Ro-Pax ferry service between Huelva and the Canary Islands, using Naviera’s floating Ro-Ro ramp.

In 2016, in addition to the inauguration of the Southern Dock’s new inspection facilities to streamline veterinary and phytosanitary examinations of products of animal or plant origin entering the European Union through this infrastructure, this type of traffic had again been boosted.

The HPA acquired the Ro-Ro ramp in 2018, and a new line was established to the Canary Islands through Balearia & Fred Olsen, with a Ro-Pax ferry and a Ro-Ro boat with three visits per week, making a total of 4 per week along with the Naviera FRS facility.

Port of Huelva


Developments in rail and road transport and Ro-Ro operations (I_24)

The table below shows developments over the last three years at Huelva Port in terms of the percentage of goods entering and leaving the Port by rail, in relation to traffic by road and rail, and developments in sea-bound goods entering and leaving the Port via Ro-Ro facilities, in relation to total general import-export goods. Pipeline transportation is also included, as this is a major feature at Huelva Port.

  2017 2018 2019
Tonnes moved 32,332,573 32,996,864 33,813,726
Rail 466,984 432,067 199,208
Road 6,254,029 6,396,135 6,569,496
Rail + road 6,721,013 6,828,201 6,768,704
% Rail/rail + road 6.95% 6.33% 2.94%
Pipeline 22,536,736 21,335,397 23,342,568
General goods 785,447 984,754 1,145,359
Ro-Ro goods (no tares) 151,002 176,253 435,123
% Ro-Ro/General goods 11.94% 17.90% 37,99%

In relation to rail traffic, the statistical summary of this mode of transport in 2019 is as follows: 

      km Totals
        NT NTkm
Incoming Manoeuvres Incoming   251,793.80 2,939,165.32
Dispatched   560,053.96 4,757,056.56
TECOs Incoming   112,955.68 1,411,946.00
Dispatched   32,054.22 400,677.75
Net Tn DECAL oils 11 138,838.12 1,527,219.32
TECO - MS 12.5 112,955.68 1,411.946.00
Ammonia 5.5 - -
TEUs   10,036.00
Dispatched Net Tn DECAL oils 11 232,741.86 2,560,160.47
FERT ADBLUE 5,5 24,543,21 134,987.66
CEPSA propane 5.5 75,343.25 414,387.88
FERT ammon 5.5 109,221.42 600,717.81
MIJG coal 7.5 86,150.00 646,125.00
GENERAL 12.5 32,054.22 400,677.75
TEUS   10,816.00
        811,847.76 7,696,211.88
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