Mr. José Luis Ábalos Meco, Minister of Public Works: The Spanish Railways sector: Proven experience on major infrastructure projects worldwide

MR. JOSÉ LUIS ÁBALOS MECO, MINISTER OF TRANSPORT

In recent decades, Spanish transport infrastructures have been the focus of substantial recapitalisation through sizeable and ongoing investment. The investment efforts made in this type of infrastructures had allowed for the transformation of our entrepreneurial sector, placing to the fore of the world market. Specifically, in the railway sector, Spain stands out in terms of design, civil works, signalling, safe and efficient management of rail traffic, the supply of rolling stock, operations and maintenance. An example of the foregoing, in High-Speed Rail, Spain has the most extensive European network (with more than 3,000 km of track in service) stressing the value of a highly competitive, majorly professional and wholly integrated industrial fabric, with companies present throughout the entire railways’ value chain. Spanish companies in the sector are present in more than ninety countries, offering highly innovative solutions, with the highest standards interms of quality and safety, as well as respect for the environment. On one hand, the entry into force of Law 39/2003, on the Railway Sector, incorporating directives from the first and second railway package, contributed to Spain’s modernisation of its railway management model on the part of publicly run state companies, entrusted with both the management of the infrastructures, as well as the provision of transport services. Following the entry into force in all of Europe for the 4th Railway Package, the market will be opened to new operators in 2020. For 2018 the forecast railway investment for carrying out tasks will exceed 4 billion euros (48% of the total volume of investment in infrastructure), which provides a clear example of the weighting this sector has in our country. Furthermore, European aid programmes must be added, including the recently announced CEF Regulations (Connecting Europe Facility) for the period 2021-2027. In this Regulation, the expansion of the European corridors of the basic transport network is included, amongst which routes in corridors such as the Mediterranean and Atlantic appear, which run through Spain. To complement this Regulation, work is being carried out on the inclusion of some of the connections in the Mediterranean Corridor that have not been included in said Regulation, such as the Valencia-Zaragoza connection which we consider of the utmost importance. Other lines of action that we are going to tackle with regard to the railways would be the improvement of regional rail systems (Radial Nuclei in Barcelona, Girona and Tarragona, Madrid, Cantabria, Asturias, the Community of Valencia and Basque Country, amongst others), the improvements necessary for conventional rail services along the line MadridExtremadura and the boosting of rail freight transport with improvement actions aimed at access to ports and terminals. On the other hand, to adapt to the European directives relating to the release of the railway sector, a modification was made to the Railway Regulations, facilitating the opening to competition on passenger transport lines required for 2020. The Ministry of Public Works develops and will continue to develop a series of actions geared towards providing support for Spanish companies operating abroad. The aims that are pursued are the creation of a technological, innovative and entrepreneurial image of Spain in the sector and taking advantage of the comprehensive capability of the Spanish trade offer, thus bolstering Spanish international positioning. The infrastructures sector will also undergo an overhaul in the coming years, and with this, opportunities will be presented both for governments, as well as companies in the sector. It is for this reason that from the Ministry of Public Works we wish to facilitate Spanish companies’ progress, already leaders in the sector, by combining efforts that allow for the further strengthening of its international positioning. Furthermore, the incorporation of innovation in the sector by strengthening investment in knowledge and fostering the development of new sustainable economies, creating economic growth and employment, is another of the fundamental pillars to enhance this development.

Innotrans

For the eighth consecutive year, the Spanish Railways Association, MAFEX, coordinates the Official Spanish Pavilion in the trade fair Innotrans. In this new edition, the increased exposure on a worldwide level of the railway sector will take place in Berlin from the 18th to 21st of September this year and will boast the attendance of more than 55 Spanish firms, alongside Adif and Renfe providing support and offering a showcase for the industry nationwide. In the 2016 event, 137,391 professionals from 119 different countries took part in an event in which they found out more about the 2,995 exhibitor stands from 60 countries showing innovations in the global rail offer. Of all of these, the Spanish solutions arose the greatest interest due to the advancements on display, as well as its proven track-record in large-scale railway projects the world over. This new edition promises to reach record attendance figures, making the same an ideal showcase for Spanish ability in the sphere of the railways.