EUSKO JAURLARITZA - BASQUE GOVERNMENT| Minister for Economic Development, Sustainability and the Environment
EUSKO JAURLARITZA - BASQUE GOVERNMENT
Minister for Economic Development, Sustainability and the Environment
1. The companies in the logistic-port community are fully aware that they are transport, logistics and industry for internationalisation of the manufacturing industry. What does your Department think about us, and how do you believe we could provide even more value for Euskadi?
The port and the logistic-port community are a part of our production supply chain. When speaking of the manufacturing industry, we are not just referring to what takes place inside a company, but rather everything involved in sending raw materials to the company and once the product is made – be it the wind turbine blades or a train carriage- it must be taken to the end customer and, among other places, to a port from which it is exported.
Therefore, it is part of the whole system and the more agile it is, the better the response to the expectations of the manufacturing company in question, which relies a lot on logistics; even more in a port, the more competitive it will be. If we also manage to attract road transport to maritime transport, as well as railway, we can offer a much more efficient, sustainable and ultimately competitive solution.
2. The global pandemic tensioned supply chains, and they became headline news. What aspects are valued, and what new strategies emerged from the department?
Supply chains were already a little stretched in the pandemic, and not only the lack of raw materials that we must bring from more distant locations but also the most relevant elements in our production chain, such as chips or semiconductors. The pandemic worsened the situation, and the war in Ukraine deteriorated it even more.
The fact that these supply chains are perfectly defined, the ships come and go adequately, and we can achieve the famous just in time, is what we must recover now. If the raw material does not exist, it will not arrive, however well you may work.
However, if purchases of raw materials are appropriately made, and you work well from the logistical point of view, you are evidently a very relevant part -Perhaps not the most important- but indispensable for everything to work well.
3. The ports of the CAPV, particularly Bilbao as the main port on the Atlantic Arc, base their value on the maritime-terrestrial connectivity they offer to our economy; what strategic projects should be promoted in this sense in the short term, both from the administration and the business fabric?
For the administration, it is indispensable for the port to have a good terrestrial connection by road and rail. The port community needs a relevant rail-port connexion for the Atlantic arc to be competitive. The road connexion is more implemented, but the railway part is indispensable for connecting to northern Europe and even makes us more competitive in the American market.
If the port community really works, is efficient, and we have good connexions, we are in an enviable position, and it facilitates the transition towards a more maritime than road transport regarding the European market.
This can be an excellent opportunity to position ourselves properly and, therefore, we must work on it.
4. Sustainability has become a priority of our companies. What is our position in the decarbonisation race? What is the vision of the Basque Government regarding ports?
At this moment, the Port Authority and the port community are making a significant effort to offer more sustainable services. You see it as something indispensable because it will be ever more important for the port to function sustainably; it will be a mandatory requirement, so the more we progress in this aspect, the better.
It is already part of the mindset of those of you who work in the port of Bilbao and those of us who work in the administration, so this can be done quickly. We see no resistance to adapt these formulas. On the contrary, we see dynamism and attempts to incorporate it into activities as soon as possible.
5. From your professional and political experience, how do you see the evolution of the port in the last twenty years?
The port has evolved from a place where goods arrived and were stored, coming in and going out, to a location where industrial activities are also carried out. This has been a significant change in how the port works and for those who work in the port community. I would say this has been a key element.
Many things have changed, including legislation, in the operations of part of those who work in this port community, which has generated a lot of resistance, but I have no doubt that it will make us more efficient.
This aspect, efficiency, means that I am chosen because I work well and quickly; begins to be in the mind of those who are working, because we will disappear if we are not chosen because the port works better, it is more efficient and offers better service. There is no doubt that effort is being applied in this direction as well as introducing digitization alongside sustainability.