JESÚS Alvarez, the representative of the ferry company Trasmediterránea in the Balearics, yesterday warned that the ports of Palma, Ibiza and Mahon are on the verge of “collapse” and this is preventing shipping companies from bringing more passengers and goods, even though there is a demand for more growth. He warned that this is endangering the economic growth of the islands.
In Palma, he said, cruise ships had to wait until the Trasmediterránea ferries had left before they could moor, “while every day we are given a different berth for the cargo vessel from Valencia” depending on the number of cruise ships. “This gives some idea of the state of collapse, which affects space as well as facilities,” he claimed.
He also warned that “given the existing port installations, there can be no growth in passengers, cargo or vehicles, as the congestion is compromising the development of the islands for the next few years.” As to Ibiza, the facilities there are the same as 1965, while the port of Alcudia is “in regression, because of its lack of depth.” He claimed that because of this, in the past few years it has lost one million tons of cargo which had to be sent to the port of Palma. Alvarez said that there was now a greater concentration of cargo in Palma, while it had “virtually disappeared” from Alcudia, except for coal. However, Alcudia has experienced an increase in inter-island passengers because of the high speed services between Alcudia and Ciutadella (Minorca) and Barcelona-Alcudia-Mahon. Alvarez said that the law on financing ports had to be changed, because so much money needs to be spent, it could not be raised by the regional governments alone. The Trasmediterránea expects to bring nearly 350'000 passengers from the Peninsula to the islands in July and August.
The company handles 60 per cent of all cargo from the Peninsula to the Balearics, between 3.5 and four million tons of cargo and 350'000 vehicles a year, he said, adding that this activity is increasing steadily, mainly because of the increase in population (100'000 people in the past ten years).