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Bilbao Port Lab Inaugurated – A Port Hub For Innovation And Research

Bilbao Port Lab inaugurated – a port hub for innovation and research

Bilbao Port Lab Inaugurated – A Port Hub For Innovation And ResearchSource: Autoridad Portuaria de Bilbao

Bilbao, Spain (PortSEurope) July 10, 2019 – Autoridad Portuaria de Bilbao (APB – Port Authority of Bilbao) has inaugurated Bilbao Port Lab, its own hub for innovation and research

The Chairman of the Port Authority, Ricardo Barkala, the Basque Government Vice Minister for Technology, Innovation and Competitiveness, Estibaliz Hernáez and the Director of the Innovation Area of Spanish State Ports, José Llorca, took part in the event.

Bilbao Port Lab aims to be a space which brings together the needs identified by the Port Community companies to move towards a Ports 4.0 model with ideas and plans for entrepreneurs, start-ups, students and researchers to develop. It will enable State Ports Funds 4.0., which has €20 million available, to subsidise projects for the Spanish state ports system, in coordination with the different Basque Government and Territorial Council of Biscay programmes for aids to innovation and enterprise.

The space granted by the Port Authority occupies 200 m² in the Zubia Building on Dock A2 of the Port of Bilbao Extension, very near to the Port Authority offices in Santurtzi. One space is dedicated to co-working for start-ups, another for carrying out demonstrations, presentations and conferences and a zone prepared for customer and supplier visits.

In addition, the Port Authority will assign €400,000 to reinforce, either with capital or through loans, projects of special port interest.

With this centre for the competitive improvement of the Port, the PAB wishes to help boost an innovating and research environment and climate by facilitating the necessary means so that ideas and projects offering real logistics-port solutions to the sector can prosper. Furthermore, the initiative fits in with its Strategic Plan to make the Port a reference for innovation and digitalisation.

In the same way, Bilbao Port Lab is complemented by other Basque innovation learning and enterprising programmes which it will seek synergies with. To achieve this, it will be integrated in the Port and River of Bilbao Foundation, which will create a working group to boost and coordinate the centre. Among other entities, the Basque Government, the SPRI Group (the Basque Government Agency for Company Development), the Biscay Territorial Council, the Riverside town councils, the BBK Trust,  financial entities, the University of Mondragon and Tecnalia, besides the Port Authority and companies from the Bilbao Port Community will collaborate with this team.

The aim of Fund 4.0., administered by Puertos del Estado (state-owned company responsible for the management of state-owned ports), is to encourage innovation in the logistics-port community by enabling the development of innovating projects, as well as start-ups and entrepreneurs in the sector. The fund has €25 million, to which all the Port Authorities in the system, including Bilbao, will contribute 1% equivalent of their cash flow over the next four years. APB will have to contribute €1.5 million to that total.

Each company or project selected will receive a fixed quantity of €15,000 for ideas or start-ups in the initial or emergent stage, between a minimum of €50,000 and maximum of €1 million for start-ups or spin-offs in the development stage for innovative products at the pre-commercial stage, and up to a minimum amount of €100,000 and a maximum of €2 million for start-ups or spin-offs in the scaling or commercial stage. The projects and ideas can be based on four themes: logistics efficiency in the infrastructures, operational or service provision fields; digitalisation of processes and intelligent platforms; environmental and energy sustainability; and safety and protection. 

The Port Authority is sure that Bilbao Port Lab will help to encourage businesses and start-ups from Euskadi (the Basque Country) to identify ideas and projects for this first call from Fund 4.0. and improve the competitiveness of what is the leading port on the Atlantic Arc.

Source: Autoridad Portuaria de Bilbao

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