The activity of the Pilot Forum – a meeting place for successful business experiences, the representatives of the most prestigious business schools and opinion leaders with regard to supply chains, globalisation, innovation and competitiveness – shifted to the town of Fraga, in the province of Huesca, the location of one of the four logistics platforms in Aragon. The Regional Minister for Economy, Industry and Employment, Marta Gastón, closed the day’s activities, highlighting the progress and projection of the autonomous region of Aragon as an acknowledged logistics leader in Spain and southern Europe. ‘The platform and Fraga City Council will no doubt be a major player in Aragón Plataforma Logística’s strategic project,’ she announced.
The Pilot Forum, organised by the Aragon Institute of Development (IAF), this year focused its attention fully on Aragon Logistics Week, with activities to promote innovation centres, railway platforms, air cargo facilities and institutions for the promotion of new technologies applied to logistics, a strategic sector for the region’s development, as exemplified by the recent launch of the Aragón Plataforma Logística brand and the imminent consolidation of the logistics platforms of Zaragoza /(Plaza), Huesca (Plhus), Teruel (Platea) and Fraga (PlFraga) in a single company.
Just as the Pilot Forum – with almost 300 speakers from 16 countries and more than 17,000 attendees – is recognised as one of the most important logistics management conventions, the autonomous region of Aragon is internationally renowned for the boost it has given to the sector. More particularly, Plaza is considered by a number of international studies to be the leading platform of its kind in Spain and the fifth best in Europe. However, all of the Aragonese platforms have remarked on the combined relaunch given to this strategic sector in 2015, with the financial restructuring of the respective management companies, which are now to be combined into a single entity.
Land sale operations have taken place in the four logistics platforms, and consideration interest has come from Barcelona, Valencia and Andalusia in alliances and even strategic investments in Aragon, given its potential for logistics. In this sense, the regional economics minister has stressed the great potential yet to be tapped for logistics as the main driver for the economic development of the autonomous region.
For the second year, part of the Pilot Forum took place outside of the host city of Zaragoza, shifting to the capital of the Lower Cinca district, Fraga, whose energy and strong business drive were praised by Gastón. PlFraga has been signatory to five land sale operations since it approved its commercial plan in December 2015, which come to a total surface area of 144,000 m2, a figure that is not to be scorned, according to the minister, out of a total of 460,000 m2 sold by the platforms as a whole.
Today’s events – with the presence of, the Mayor of Fraga, Miguel Luis Lapeña; the Director General of Industry, Commerce, SMEs and Arts and Crafts, Fernando Fernández; and the head of Plataformas Logísticas de Aragón, Francisco de la Fuente among others, all accompanying the minister – included a round table discussion on ‘Logistics and Business Opportunities’, moderated by the Director General of IAF, Ramón Tejedor. It was attended by Javier Pardiño, plant manager from Becton Dickinson; Josep Maria Gardeñes, Chairman of the Confederació d’Organitzacions Empresarials de Lleida (COELL), and Joaquín Tejera, Chairman of the Lower Cinca Inter-sectoral Association.
This was followed by a special lecture on ‘The business of the future’ delivered by Antonio Cobo, Managing Director of Opel España, whose factory in Figueruelas has for years been the driving force behind the economy of Aragon, with one sector – the automotive industry – generating one third of the exports from the regions, with approximately 1,200 companies and responsible for 30% of industrial employment.
The minister acknowledged and was grateful for the great contribution that the factory in Figueruelas had given to the region and also to the development of logistics as a driving force for economic growth. ‘Logistics have benefited from the car industry,’ she stated, just as the automotive industry, including ancillary industries, ‘must benefit from logistics.’
The Pilot Forum programme continues on Monday, 22 May, at the Logisgtics ITC Demonstration Centre at ITAInnova. Aragon Logistic Week will come to a close on Tuesday, 23 May, at the Zaragoza Convention Centre. The day will include a ceremony to announce the winner of the 2017 PILOT Logistics Excellence Award.