Port of Barcelona will promote short sea shipping (SSS) between Barcelona and North Africa at Fruit Logistica, the largest fresh produce trade fair in the world, taking place between Wednesday and Friday in Berlin.
"We have designed specific procedures for SSS of fresh produce based on our extensive experience in this type of traffic," said the person in charge of SSS the Port of Barcelona, Ana Arevalo, who assured that these protocols help speed up the passage of goods at the Border Inspection Post (BIP) and customs.
The director of Port Community Promotion, Manel Galan, said that the purpose of the facility is to consolidate the relationship with the fruit industry and promote traffic to North Africa.
Catalan enclave representatives are to meet with ship-owners offering refrigerated container traffic to assess possible load increases and to plan the next campaign of perishable goods with container terminals.
In this edition, Fruit Logistica will feature over 2,450 exhibitors from 84 countries, and last year the showroom was visited by 56,000 professionals of 132 nationalities.
China has banned its airlines from supporting the EU plan to tax carbon emissions on flights to and from Europe, and increasing ticket prices to customers as a compensatory measure, as confirmed on Monday by the Chinese government who argue that airlines who want to comply with EU directives must obtain prior approval from Beijing, which has denounced this plan as an unfounded duty.
Beijing's announcement comes a week after the EU-China summit. Failure to pay the tax could lead to Chinese airlines being fined or not allowed to use European airports.
"China hopes Europe will act under more general issues in responding to global climate change, sustainable development of international aviation and ties between Europe and China, strengthening communication and coordination to find the correct and appropriate solution for both parties," said sources at the Chinese civil aviation authority cited by the state news agency Xinhua.
This source has warned of the possible consequences that might be caused by the plan enacted by the EU, because "China will also consider taking steps to protect Chinese public and business interests."
According to European legislation, as of 1 January, all airlines using European airfields are to be taxed in accordance with the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. The penalties are around 100 euros per tonne of carbon dioxide emitted for airlines that do not want to pay the tax. In case of repeated disobedience of the law, the EU has the power to prohibit such airlines operating in European airports.
This policy has the approval of the European Court of Justice, which rejected an appeal by a group of U.S. airlines.
Likewise, the Air Transport Association of China has urged Chinese airlines to disregard such legislation, claiming it will cost 800 million yuan per year (96.7 million) during the first year, an amount that will triple by 2020 (up to 290 million euros), according to the agency.
Barcelona is well positioned for Asian inward investment to Europe and northern Africa and its port is strategically located to capture target goods for these areas. However, "we must rethink how part of the Mediterranean cake can stay here." This was stated in Barcelona by Mr. Andres Rodriguez-Pose, Professor of Economic Geography at the London School of Economics (LSE) and vice president of the European Regional Science Association.
Rodríguez-Pose, supervisor of the report "Global trends and their impact in big cities", commissioned by the Strategic Metropolitan Plan of Barcelona, said that "the world's centre of gravity has shifted to the east and Barcelona is capable of linking Asia and Europe ". But the LSE professor said "there are other well positioned cities and ports," although the Catalan capital has certain advantages, such as "the power of its hinterland or important logistics area," said Francesc Santacana, coordinator of the Barcelona Strategic Metropolitan Plan.
Isabel Carreras, who is an architect and Master in Urban and Regional Planning from the LSE, also spoke about the strategic position of Barcelona. She has been in charge of reporting the document on global trends, along with Anna Puiggròs, geographer and MA in Contemporary Urban Planning by the LSE.
This paper argues for an urban area model with a commitment to attracting talent and knowledge as a means to maintain and increase quality of life and wealth. It does not promote the creation of a new infrastructure “because Barcelona has enough, but rather upscaling by improving management” said Isabel Carreras.
"Managing infrastructure with excellence" is essential to cities that face significant challenges for the future in a changing world and a shift of the centre of gravity towards Asia, which is creating new trade routes where the Mediterranean is one of the key actors.
The largest building project in Colombia, a 260 metre high tower, will bear the Catalan seal.
The architectural macrocomplex, which is called BD Bacatá, is owned by the Catalan construction company BD Promotors, headed by Venerando Lamelas, and another Catalan company controlled by Grupo Preyco. The project, designed by the architectural firm Alonso Balaguer, now has a new Catalan ingredient: Hotusa Chain will manage the five-star hotel that integrates the macrocomplex.
This will be the first hotel chain to be headed in Colombia by Amancio López , arriving in Bogota with his Eurostars brand. The establishment will have 323 rooms and an area of over 3,000 square metres for conventions and events. The hotel will have 16 meeting rooms, a spa area of 550 square metres, two gourmet restaurants and two lounge bars.
The opening of the Bacatá tower hotel in 2014 will mark the fourth Hotusa Latin American destination, which already has establishments in Argentina, Peru and Mexico. For the president of Hotusa, "Colombia is one of the leaders in the emerging Latin American market."
The president of BD Promotors, Venerando Lamelas, said yesterday that the award of the hotel management to a chain with Catalan capital was "intentional" in the same way as the project design was awarded in its day to the Catalan firm Alonso Balaguer.
The BD Bacatá tower project has a projected budget of $200 million (151 million euros). The complex will have two towers and a total construction of 114,000 square metres. The hotel will be located in the tallest tower, with a total of 66 floors, and will occupy forty floors. The building will comprise 396 apartments, 117 offices, over 700 parking spaces, a shopping mall with 30 retail spaces and the hotel.
According to Lamelas, some of the apartments and mall have already been sold. The hotel property will be divided between the developer of the complex and fiduciary rights owners. Hotusa has signed a management contract.
The Hotusa Group's hotel division consists of 114 establishments in fifteen countries in Europe and Latin America. Besides, it has 2,500 associated hotels in 49 countries on four continents. The group also integrates the hotel representative Keytel, the technology company IGM Web and the management portal and online booking system Hotelius.com.
Hotusa had a turnover of 765 million euros in 2011, up 12.6% from the previous year. Of these, 249 million came from its hotel management division.
Alonso Balaguer, who has opened a temporary office in Bogota, where he directs the works from, plans to open a permanent office in Bogota. According to Luis Alonso, "it may be located in Bacatá tower itself, as it is becoming an icon for the city."
In addition to its new look, Windows 8 features a built-in store, selling an entirely new type of application. Windows 8 will also support both the AMD and Intel chips traditionally used by Windows, as well as the ARM processors commonly found in Android phones and tablets.
The Catalan technological firm expects to multiply its users by five, up to 500,000 customers, and continues with its plans to export its platform to Latin America.
Wuaki.tv is one of the online video-clubs that has emerged in Barcelona in the light of the changing trends in the consumption of films and series, and its aims for its second year of activity are ambitious: to multiply its customer base by five, up to 500,000 users, expand its offer from 2,000 to 5.000 titles and make a definitive move to Latin America through local partners.
The CEO of Wuaki.tv, Jacinto Roca, states the company “has the capital to face this year’s challenges”, but will seek new resources. “We will open a financing round to raise between five million and ten million further euros”, he says. The online video-club already raised two million in 2011, in an operation involving Bonsai Venture Capital and Axon Capital funds.
Roca maintains that the intention is to allow the participation of new investors. Most of the capital is still in the hands of the founding team and business angels such as Marc Ingla, ex vice-president of Barça and member of Nauta Capital, and Manel Sarasa.
Wuaki.tv trusts in gaining momentum this year owing to internauts’ greater awareness of the need for legal consumption, and also due to the boom in televisions connected to the Internet. “In 2012 the European Football Championship and Olympic Games are to be held...; manufacturers believe this year the change will take place in televisions in the home”, describes Roca.
The online video-club has already signed agreements to incorporate its system in televisions made by Samsung, LG, Panasonic and Philips. It is also included in some TDT appliances by Siemens Gigaset. The next step, according to Roca, will be to install Wuaki.tv in video-consoles, such as Sony’s Play Station 3, and Samsung and Apple tablets, among others. “We hope to close these deals in the first half-year”, he points out.
The company will launch a subscription in March for customers who can choose the method of payment; at the moment they can only buy or rent titles individually, and prices oscillate between 0.99 euros and 2.99 euros.
Wuaki.tv prefers not to reveal the expected turnover for this year or for 2011. “We will reach seven million euros in three or four years”, claimed Roca in another interview a year ago.
Wuaki.tv has agreements with majors such as Disney, Paramount, Sony Pictures or Warner to distribute their films in its online video-club. These agreements lead Roca to believe that their expansion into Latin America will be simpler, as its system has passed the relevant controls. “We will enter these countries hand in hand with local partners who know users tastes”, he says.
Etihad Airways has joined an elite club of airlines in the Middle East, reporting its first ever annual profit. Outside standouts such as Emirates, few of the region’s state-owned carriers have been able to report regular profits. Indeed, state-owned carriers in the region typically report heavy losses, when their results are made public at all.
In 2011 representatives from the Barcelona Air Route Development Committe visited the airline in the framework of an institutional roadshow around the Middle East countries. The meeting was very profitable and it enhanced the relationship between both entities.