Six proposals to promote the rail freight transport

Barcelona-Catalunya Logistics Center (BCL) has written a document with six proposals for infrastructure improvement and management that are easily executable so that rail transport becomes competitive. The document raises easily executable actions that facilitate the development of efficient and competitive rail services that respond to the intermodal and transport needs of Catalan companies.

At a time when digitization and logistics drive commerce and competitiveness, the promoters of this document consider urgent advances to be needed so that rail freight transport is aligned with economic needs. Also because it helps the declared continental and intercontinental logistics vocation of Spain, the modal rebalancing and the environmental improvement.

At present, the modal share of the railroad in Spain considering the terrestrial modes is very low, of the order of 5% in t-km. However, and in spite of the orographic conditions and other limitations, as stated in “Report on the supervision of the rail freight market” of December 2016 of the National Commission of Markets and Competition (CNMC, hereinafter), this The quota could be between 13-15%, at the level of countries like the United Kingdom and France that have relative relative weights of industrial GDP in their economies. The growth potential of rail freight transport is multiplied in Catalonia, which accounts for almost a quarter of industrial production, which is the industrial engine of Spain according to recent statistics from the INE. In addition, Madrid and Catalonia are the two most logistical communities in the Iberian Peninsula, which is why they need to have competitive rail services between them and with the rest of Europe.

You can read the manifesto below:

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Contribution of the logistics to the economy

This report gives continuity and updates a previous one that was born of the concern of a group of businessmen and professionals related to the logistics sector when they interpreted that the economic weight of the activities developed for this sector was not collected in a way sufficiently adjusted or exhaustive to official statistics. In this case, what is the real contribution of the logistics to the economy?

Based on the known data, we can conclude that the lower threshold of the contribution of logistics to the economy is 12.63% of GDP. This 12.63% is explained by the contribution of the VAB of the sectors that traditionally identify themselves as logistics activities (4.84%) and the intermediate consumption (purchases) carried out by companies of these activities to companies of others Sectors (7.79%).

Contribution of logistics to the economy

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Evolution of logistics during the last century

Let’s review the evolution of logistics since the 30s until now.

Years 30 “Military logistics”

After the Second World War, the interest of business by the logistics process arises and an analogy is established between military logistics and technical material supply and military logistics is begun to be related to industrial production.

Years 50 “Conceptualization of logistics”

Logistics becomes more important due to the transition that goes through the most developed countries, from an economy characterized by excessive demand to an economy with excess supply, with these being their main characteristics:

  • First developments of the total cost of logistics operations.
  • It focuses on the concern to satisfy the customer.
  • Distribution channels are of particular importance. You want to sell any product anywhere.
  • Increase new products, as a result the product lines are originated.

60 Years “Outsourcing”

Logistics took a new approach where “outsourcing” was the most appropriate mechanism to reach customers, since it had as its main objective the subcontracting of other companies because the flow of goods or information was efficient and reached all parts That were within the reach of the company.

Years 70 “The concept of trial logistics”

  • Customer service becomes an indispensable requirement to continue competing with market leaders.
  • Progress in the concept of physical distribution.
  • There are periods of recession and growth in the world economy.
  • Development of the inventory management strategy.
  • The technology for the industrial revolution that occurred during these times began to emerge, and the cost of information technology was reduced to improve the quality, which brought about an improved mechanism for the supply of the goods Or information accurately and precisely at the time the customer made their order, this mechanism is called “Just in Time”, that is just in time

Since the 80’s “Modification of preferences” 

  • The energy crisis of the moment drives the movement towards the improvement of transport and storage.
  • Just in Time’s approach was modified by Quick Response (QR) and Efficient Consumer Response (ECR) with the sole purpose of seeking a precise delivery with the exact amount, when and where needed, to meet To the customer.
  • Changes in supply chain preferences where special attention is paid to suppliers, distributors and customer service, defining the end-user’s demand.
  • Inventories, total logistics costs are reduced, and delivery times are shorter.
  • Logistics operations are energy-intensive: environmental-ecological concern is born.

1990 “Promotion of logistics

Logistics went on to become a more integrated process in terms of its external and internal environment, in other words, its internal processes within the company were managed according to the relationships that were with its customers and suppliers.

This process of integration causes logistics management to begin with a strategic plan regarding the design of how to reach the final customers, in order to go out and minimize competition, establishing efficient plans for the supply of the products.

  • Technology continues to position itself in conventional Logistics processes and Distribution channels
  • Outsourcing services
  • Demand for logistics services expands


Day by day it is observed that to put into practice a good business logistics management is essential, it has developed over time and is now a basic aspect.

A perfectly designed logistics project is the most strategic tool to compete with the demanding current market, achieving customer loyalty.

All these changes that were adapted over time in the administration of the logistics caused not only to administer an internal process that goes from the manufacture of the product until it acquires the client, but now it is ‘They analyze a whole network of supplies that involve various process flows, which is now known as the supply chain management, which must also take into account intermediate customers such as distributors and retailers in the process What is done because the product arrives at the customer.

This supply chain involves several stages such as suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, retailers and clients, which the new administration integrates them interconnectively, since each one is self-sufficient in an increasingly competitive market. Supply chain management currently seeks integration into all the decision phases in its Chain, which has had a great growth for the revolution of technology, which has led to the strategies being based on the quality of the relations between the participants in the supply chain, which seeks to align them with the objectives Of the company. All in order to give a better service to the end customer, in addition to giving greater satisfaction value and the customer to become loyal to the company.

What do we mean when we talk about “Logistics”?

Definitions to be taken into account in the field of logistics:

COMMERCIAL LOGISTICS : It is key to the value chain since it incorporates the product, designs and identifies the need for new products or services.

DISTRIBUTION : Refers to the external movement of products from the seller to the customer or buyer. Distribution logistics and the physical distribution of the product are equivalent terms.

BUSINESS LOGISTICS : Since its origins in the military field, business logistics has evolved and has become a branch of industry and services, providing solutions for management in almost all business areas.

INTEGRATED : It is the set of resources and tools to improve business management:

  • reduces the costs of maintaining inventories
  • helps deliver better customer service
  • decreases capital investments

INTERNAL : Internal is the internal operating activities of the company.

INVERSE : It is responsible for recovering and recycling dangerous packaging, packaging and waste. It also deals with the processes of returning excess inventory, customer returns, obsolete products and seasonal inventories.

PORT LOGISTICS : Its efficiency in procedures and the costs associated with the operation of the cargo, are very important for the growth of a national economy, being a fundamental part of the port logistics strategy in the markets Countries.

History of logistics

The birth of logistics goes back to when people stored food in caves for the purpose of having food during the cold and long winter, managing what we now know as the procurement process and inventory control.

At that time the products were not transported, so humans were forced to live near the places of production maximizing the present and future profitability of civilization in terms of costs and effectiveness.

The Romans always had a logistic as administrator of material resources in their armies

In ancient times of Western civilization between the years 500 and 430 BC, the Greeks used the term logistic to define the kind of reasoning that used mathematical symbols and numbers. On the other hand, in Athens, the officials who calculated the needs of the State

We think that the so-called modern logistics has its origin in the field of military engineering :

  • troop movement organization
  • hosting
  • transport
  • victualling

In war situations, the efficiency to transport and store materials and food is vital and military logistics is incorporated into the business world from where logistics techniques evolved to their current concept.

With the appearance of the trade is when the logistics becomes essential, as they begin to present problems:

  • coordination on the production line
  • Raw material supply
  • Product storage and distribution

And at the same time that production increased, it became necessary to invest in:

  • Infrastructure
  • communication networks
  • transport

The Industrial Age and Modern Business

During the process of industrialization, companies began to work in a more complex logistics chain to reduce the essential objectives of the industrial company in the most efficient way possible with minimal effort. The companies that adapted to the changes in the logistics of their production chain were positioned as leaders during this time, acquiring great competitive advantages.

Origin of the word “Logistics”

The word logistical comes from the Greek root Logis, which means calculation and Logistic Latin, term with which was identified in times of the Ancient Rome to the administrator or Intendant of the armies of the Empire.

It is also believed that it comes from the word loger, of French origin, the meaning is to inhabit or to house.

Also referred to the Major General des Logis, member of a staff, in charge of accommodating or cantonment of troops in different campaigns.