French Customs seizes un-exportable Picasso’s art work worth €25m

Picasso, Head of a Young WomanA painting by Pablo Picasso estimated at more than €25 million (CHF26.5 million) and considered “unexportable” by the Spanish authorities has been seized by French customs officials on a boat moored in the French island of Corsica.

“An attempt to export to Switzerland a picture by Picasso, Head of a Young Woman, through the customs office of Bastia [a town in Corsica] last Thursday attracted the attention of French officials,” customs agents said in a statement to French news agency AFP on Tuesday.

On Friday, customs officials from the Corsican town of Calvi “boarded the ship which was moored in the marina at Calvi and demanded the documents relating to the painting which it was transporting”. According to the statement, the captain was able to produce only one document assessing the painting plus a ruling, in Spanish, from May 2015 made by the Audienca Nacional, a Spanish high court which has jurisdiction over all Spanish territory and international crimes which come under the competence of Spanish courts. This ruling confirmed that the painting was a Spanish national treasure which could never leave Spain. Source: CustomsToday

21st Century Silk Railway – Chinese freight train makes world record trip

141212174829-yixinou-worlds-longest-train-journey-horizontal-large-galleryThe longest rail link in the world and the first direct link between China and Spain is up and running after a train from Yiwu in coastal China completed its maiden journey of 8,111 miles to Madrid. En route it passed through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany and France before arriving at the Abroñigal freight terminal in Madrid.

The railway has been dubbed the “21st-century Silk Road” by Li Qiang, the governor of Zhejiang province, where Yiwu is located. Its route is longer than the Trans-Siberian railway and the Orient Express. The first train was met by the mayor of Madrid, Ana Botella, and Spain’s minister of public works, Ana Pastor. It consisted of 30 containers carrying 1,400 tonnes of cargo – mostly toys, stationery and other items for sale over Christmas across Europe.

Yiwu is the world’s largest wholesale hub for small consumer goods and plays host to a vast 4 sq km (1.5 sq mile) market where tens of thousands of traders work daily. The journey was a test run to assess the viability of adding Spain to a route that already links China with Germany five times a week. Those trains link Chongqing, the huge industrial city in south-west China, with Duisburg, and Beijing with Hamburg.

China is Spain’s biggest trading partner after the EU, with bilateral trade worth around £16bn. It is also Spain’s third largest source of imports, after Germany and France. About half of these imports are made up of mobile phones and clothing. The Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, was in China in September, where he signed deals reported to be worth more than £6.3bn.

A major advantage of the rail route is speed. The train took just three weeks to complete a journey that takes up to six weeks by sea. It is also more environmentally friendly than road transport, which would produce 114 tonnes of CO2 to shift the same volume of goods, compared with the 44 tonnes produced by the train – a 62% reduction.

However, the cargo had to be transferred three times during the journey as a result of incompatible rail gauges. The locomotive also had to be changed every 500 miles. The service is being operated by InterRail Services and DB Schenker Rail and in Spain by DB’s Spanish offshoot, Tranfesa.

Triple-E Leaves Port of Algeciras with World Record Load

Triple-E-full-loaded

MV Mary Maersk departed Algeciras, Spain fully laden [Gcaptain.com]

On July 21, 2014, the MV Mary Maersk departed Algeciras, Spain with a world record 17,603 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU), the most TEU’s ever loaded onto a single vessel.

MV Mary Mearsk is the third vessel in Maersk Line’s Triple-E class, which have nominal capacity of 18,270 TEU, although port restrictions have prevented the vessels from reaching full capacity.

“Algeciras has been preparing for full utilisation of the Triple-E for more than a year,” says Carlos Arias, head of the South Europe Liner Operations Cluster. “This included the upgrading of four existing cranes and the arrival of four new Triple-E cranes.”

After departing Algeciras, the vessel was bound for Tanjung Pelepas, Malaysia, which included a trip through the Suez Canal. Arias added that similar upgrades needed to be made at the port of Tanjung Pelepas, and this was the first occasion where both ends were ready. Source: Gcaptain.com

Tornado hits Spain – double grounding off Valencia

A tornado struck a fairground in Gandia, Spain, knocking down a Ferris wheel, damaging several rides and causing a power outage at the site. The twister left 35 people injured. The fair was closed to the public when the tornado touched down, and all of those injured were fair workers, local media reported. Fifteen people were seriously hurt and treated on site, the website for Gandia’s town hall said. The tornado ripped roofs off buildings, uprooted trees and overturned a truck which landed on cars.

Further North on the Valencia coast, two large cargo ships ran aground as a result of the high winds and seas.

In the provinces of Murica, Almeria and Malaga, 10 people were killed when the inclement weather caused flash floods that swept away cars and bridges and flooded many villages.Source: Sign of the Times.net