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An aerial view of the recently developed road network of the 'dry port' in Antequera. SUR
Antequera's giant 'dry port' freight hub officially opens after almost 20 years in the making
Infrastructure

Antequera's giant 'dry port' freight hub officially opens after almost 20 years in the making

The plan for the large logistics centre in the north of Malaga province first saw the light of day in 2006 and since then, has had to overcome many bureaucratic hurdles

Ignacio Lillo

Friday, 5 April 2024, 12:03

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The large, highly-anticipated Andalusian freight hub next to the Malaga-Madrid high-speed train line in Antequera has finally opened after 20 years in the making.

Junta president Juanma Moreno officially opened the site, dubbed the 'dry port' today (5 April) following nearly two decades of paperwork and construction.

The man behind the project is veteran Malaga businessman Domingo de Torres, founder, among others, of the company Acotral. He told SUR the project first came to light in 2006. In a conversation, the mayor of Antequera at the time, Ricardo Millán, asked Torres for an idea to boost the municipality, and he suggested building a dry port.

At the beginning, such an infrastructure was largely unknown in Andalusia.

A site of this nature was unknown in the area back then, and so a group of project promoters, together with the councillor, went to Madrid and Zaragoza to find out exactly what investment it would take.

The proceedings begin

After three years of talks, the PSOE-governed regional government decided to pilot the initiative in 2009 - that was the beginning of a very long administrative process to authorise the project, under the governments of Manuel Chaves, José Antonio Griñán and Susana Díaz.

In 2015, the project and declaration of regional interest were approved. But it would take almost a decade from the start, until 2018, for the hardest phase of the bureaucracy to come to an end. In September of that year it was announced the special development plan for the Antequera dry port had already received final approval from the Junta de Andalucía. Months of successive phases of public information, allegations and environmental authorisations were left behind.

The process, which was carried out by the Junta, took from 2009 to 2020

In January 2019, Juanma Moreno became president of the Junta. Then the last hurdle remained, which was the project's final approval. This came a year later in 2020, finally allowing construction to start.

From dispatches to the field

Later that year the Antequera logistics area, which had received the commercial name of Megahub Andalucía, entered a new phase after French multinational Groupe IDEC took a large stake in the company Puerto Seco de Antequera. In 2023, it became the majority shareholder and responsible for its management. With the current distribution, IDEC holds 56.5% of the company, while Domingo de Torres holds 38.5% and GED Capital (an investment fund) holds the remaining 5%.

The company, which has a global presence, is currently managing these facilities, with the aim of making the megahub self-sufficient and even able to supply electricity to its surroundings.

The French IDEC group currently holds more than half of the company, in which Domingo de Torres remains a shareholder

In April 2021, the Consejería de Fomento, through the Agencia Pública de Puertos de Andalucía (APPA), awarded the contract for almost 34.7 million euros to the joint venture formed by Guamar and Rofez Construcciones to carry out building work of the first phase. The work, with an initial completion period of 20 months, would last until the end of December 2023.

This first phase includes creating plots, building access and internal roads (which have required several viaducts); an interchange for traffic, a wastewater treatment plant, sewerage and water supply networks. The last step was taken by the regional ministry of public works at the end of March, when it awarded a contract for the drafting of the projects for the future intermodal terminal, where the transfer of freight from lorry to train and vice versa will take place.

The drafting of the construction project has one of the highest consultancy budgets contracted in recent months, 572,235 euros, with the winning bidder Civis Consultores Asociados. They will be tasked to design the connection with the rail corridors of the Trans-European Transport Network, as well as the platform of the intermodal terminal, on an area of 18 hectares.

Time for meganaves

Since January this year, the project has entered a radically different scenario, in which the IDEC group has redoubled its commercial efforts for the implementation of the first companies that will have their headquarters on the 37 hectares of logistics land already developed.

The promotion plan, Dry Logistic 40, offers, for sale or rent, very large platforms of around 42,000 square metres, which will be connected to the Costa del Sol, the ports of Malaga and Algeciras and inland Andalucía, something the market lacked until now.

The most eagerly awaited news now is to know which companies will be the first to set up in this first phase of the 'dry port'

This first area will offer a payload of five tonnes/m², a clear height of 12 metres, three levels of tertiary spaces, a concrete structure, 44 loading bays, a road system and a state-of-the-art fire-fighting system, as well as several plots for inter-service centres.

The most eagerly awaited news now is to know which companies will be the first to set up; how many jobs they will generate, as well as the renewable energy production measures installed to make the Antequera 'dry port' self-sufficient.

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