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Why is Sagunto chosen by Volkswagen to install its gigafactory in Spain? | Economy

One of the entrances to Parc Sagunt l, neighboring Parc Sagunt II, where the Volkswagen gigafactory is planned.
One of the entrances to Parc Sagunt l, neighboring Parc Sagunt II, where the Volkswagen gigafactory is planned.CARLES FRANCESC

Sagunto has been chosen by the Volkswagen group to establish its first battery factory for electric cars in Spain. The choice of the city of 65,000 inhabitants, located 25 kilometers from Valencia, is due to numerous reasons, among which its geostrategic location and its connections stand out. In fact, the multinational pointed out this Wednesday that “more than a hundred criteria” have been taken into account to decide the location, although it only alluded to the port facilities of Sagunto (which belong to the Port Authority of Valencia) and the connection with the plants in Martorell (Seat) and Pamplona (Volkswagen).

Sagunto has a complete communications network and is located 32 kilometers from Valencia airport (Manises) and 75 from Castellón airport (Vilanova d’Alcolea). By road, the Autovía del Mediterráneo (A-7), which runs between Algeciras and Barcelona, ​​passes through the term that was an important enclave due to its location of the Iberian and Roman civilizations. In addition, the Mudéjar Highway (A-23) begins in the old Murviedro and reaches the French border through Aragón.

By train, Sagunto is connected to Zaragoza and the Cantabrian axis by an outdated railway line in the process of being renovated and, above all, it forms part of the strategic Mediterranean Corridor, which runs along the entire coast from the south to the French border in Girona and should be completed for the most part in 2026, when the firm plans to open the gigafactory.

Another of the valued criteria is human capital, the preparation of the workforce and proximity to research and training centres. The Polytechnic and University of Valencia campuses, among others, are less than half an hour away by car. The multinational has been interested in not only university education, but also vocational training, and especially everything related to engineering, according to various sources. It has also focused on other issues of an educational and social nature. The firm has announced the creation of 3,000 direct jobs for the Sagunto plant.

The availability of vast land for industrial use has been another key factor. The factory is projected in the six million gross square meters of Parc Sagunt II, whose expropriation must conclude in June. In addition, there is the possibility of expanding the space and conditioning the plots to the needs of the project. The reactivation and completion of Parc Sagunt I, converted into an important logistics hub with the location of firms such as Mercadona or Tempe (Inditex), facilitates the rapid development of Parc Sagunt II by having a treatment plant, water supply and other services already in operation .

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Aerial photo from 2018 of the Parc Sagunt industrial estate.
Aerial photo from 2018 of the Parc Sagunt industrial estate. Sagunt Park

The park is part of Espacios Económicas Empresariales SL (EEE), a company owned 50% by the Generalitat Valenciana and 50% by SEPIDES (State Society of Industrial Participations and Business development). Planned at the time to compensate for the traumatic steel reconversion of Sagunto in the eighties, Parc Sagunt will have its own intermodal railway station connected to the Mediterranean Corridor. The industrial past and the facilities and companies that remain in its estates have also played in its favour, as well as the regasification plant installed in the port.

The investment in the gigafactory is linked to the allocation of European funds from the PERTE of the electric vehicle. The German company has announced that it will present itself to the aid called by the Government, whose term opens on April 2. The PERTE-VEC (Strategic Projects for the Recovery and Economic Transformation of the Electric and Connected Vehicle) contemplates the granting of subsidies for an amount of 2,975 million euros. The Volkswagen group has announced that it will move an investment of 7,000 million for Spain, without specifying the one destined specifically for Sagunto.

In addition, the factory will be able to benefit from aid from the Generalitat Valenciana, which has turned to the negotiation, municipal incentives and regional incentives allowed by the European Union by virtue of the income of the territory. All this has contributed to the choice of Sagunto, compared to the alternative locations of Barcelona, ​​Zaragoza and Extremadura, which were initially considered.

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