This week the first real tests of railway transport have begun between the salt and potash mine that ICL Iberia has in Súria and its terminal in the port of Barcelona . These are the first trains, operated by Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya (FGC), that arrive at this new terminal, where they have also begun to carry out ship load tests. Once the tests are completed, ICL expects the new terminal dedicated to potash and saline products to be fully operational in June. Once the railway infrastructures at the accesses and inside the terminal were completed and incorporated into the Barcelona Port Security and Operational Management System, the trains began to carry out operational tests. Initially, two daily circulations have been made, although FGC, which offers this service between Bages and the port, anticipates that they will gradually increase.
The commitment to sustainability
The new salt and potash terminal that ICL Iberia has built on the Álvarez de la Campa dock is a key part of the industrial project that the company is developing in the Bages mining basin, since it guarantees high-capacity maritime logistics to provide an efficient exit and sustainable to its future production growths. The infrastructure, which has involved an investment of 77 million euros, includes a 460-meter-long wharf, two 52-meter-high shiploaders, two 22,000-m² warehouses, a metric-width rail terminal with four 450-meter tracks length and a truck unloading station. The terminal has the capacity to operate 4 million tons of salt and potash per year. FGC operates on the line between Súria and the port with convoys of 21 wagons, a number that ICL plans to increase to 24, and 290 meters in length. Each wagon can carry 40 tons of weight and, therefore, up to 900 net tons of potash are transported in each convoy. FGC, which has signed a contract with ICL for thirty years, has made a significant investment with the acquisition of 5 dual locomotives (diesel-electric) that lead to a reduction in diesel consumption of 66%. The use of rail transport results in a reduction of CO₂ emissions of 80% compared to the land mode and helps to minimize noise and road accidents. Finally, the new locomotives are 95% recyclable, which boosts the circular economy. This investment represents a great contribution to maintaining and even increasing the economic activity of the Catalan region of Bages, since FGC plans to gradually increase circulation between the mine and the port as ICL increases its production levels. When fully operational, it is estimated that the new rail service will transport more than double tons of potash to the port of those transported so far.