By Humphrey Carter
PALMA city council and the Balearic Port Authority are coming under increasing pressure to speed up the process of moving the commercial docks from the Moll vell (old port) to the dique del Oeste. The idea of moving the commercial docks away from the city centre was first proposed by the previous city council, but little progress has been made.
The aim is to divert heavy goods vehicles away from the city centre and the Paseo Maritimo.
PSM city councillors yesterday urged the council to revive negotiations so that the old port area can be used for the people of Palma.
The redevelopment of the old port is part of the ambitious plan to redevelop Palma's sea front.
There is still talk of the ferry terminal being moved from Porto Pi to the old port, in order to provide passengers with much easier access to the city centre. Plans have also been put forward to develop the old port into a new shopping centre and entertainment complex, similar to developments in other major port cities around the world. However, it appears that the Balearic Port Authority does not have sufficient funding to embark on the port re-development project alone and will need, not only local government funding but also state funding. The amount of merchant shipping handled by the Port of Palma has been rising steadily for the past ten years. The PSM, Majorcan Nationalist Party, is worried that unless steps are taken soon to ease pressure on the old port, the impact on Palma, the sea front and the city centre will be highly negative. The great advantage about moving merchant shipping to the dique del Oeste is that heavy goods vehicles will be able to head straight out onto the Via Centura, without having to trundle along the Paseo Maritimo. Other alternatives to ease traffic, is to sink a tunnel linking the old port exit to the Via Centura, but the project will be even more costly and complicated than switching merchant shipping to Porto Pi.

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