Canal Frío, serving Aragon's food industry
The launch of Canal Frío (Cold Channel) opens up new opportunities for the internationalisation of Aragon's food industry. It is a specific rail service for temperature-controlled containers (chilled and frozen) directly connecting the Zaragoza Goods Terminal (tmZ) with the Port of Barcelona.
After a test period, Canal Frío officially began operations in December 2016 and the service has now been consolidated, with four weekly trips, and is forecast to provide a daily train journey in each direction in the near future. The service is operated by APM Barcelona Railway Terminals, which has adapted trains for this type of traffic (generators, network connection on each wagon, etc.). The trains have a maximum capacity of 28 reefers.
tmZ has launched this service to respond to the logistics needs of the thriving food industry of Aragon and Northeast Spain. The main customers with which it has started operations are leading Aragonese meat groups and companies selling frozen vegetables. During the first few months, Canal Frío will operate exclusively with frozen goods, with plans to extend the service to other logistics segments in the medium term. This new rail service has been designed to accommodate all kinds of temperature-controlled traffic, such as fresh produce (fruit and vegetables) and wine. Zaragoza has large world-renowned wine producers and a high export rate (La Rioja, Aragon, Navarre, etc.) within a relatively short radius.
tmZ continues to grow
Canal Frío has enabled tmZ to take a quantum leap forward in terms of the services offered to its customers. In operation since 2001, when it generated traffic of 5,000 TEU, tmZ closed last year with traffic of 300,000 TEU, 85% of which started or ended at the Port of Barcelona. tmZ was created with the aim of bringing the services of the Port of Barcelona closer to its customers by committing to the rail mode as an efficient and sustainable means of transport and set up its own railway terminal in 2007. Today, tmZ provides 22 weekly connections with Barcelona, as well as other links with the ports of Bilbao and Valencia.
In addition to expanding its services, tmZ has also enlarged its facilities by 35,000 m2, representing a 67% increase in terminal capacity. Specifically, it commissioned two 550 metre lines for loading and unloading operations; 15,000 m2 of depot space for full and empty containers; 9,000 m2 for parking facilities to facilitate entry and management of trucks in the terminal. Furthermore, coinciding with the launch of Canal Frío, it enabled 60 connections for reefers, providing the terminal with the capacity to simultaneously store the containers corresponding to more than two full trains. The total investment was € 4.8 million.
tmZ's new reefer facilities and services located in Mercazaragozaopen up new possibilities for export thanks to the full range of regular shipping lines offered by the Port of Barcelona to agri-food producers of food of Aragon and the Ebro valley.