Valencia, Spain (PortSEurope) December 3, 2018 – Spain carried out its great port works 20 years ago. The ports spent billions of euros, but the crisis came and the expansion plans cooled down. Now, when maritime traffic grows, the ports begin to consider whether to expand their facilities. The port of Valencia has taken the lead and plans a terminal of €1.200 billion that will double its capacity and will bring it closer to ports in northern Europe such as Rotterdam.
The context is favorable after a few hard years: the large maritime companies are concentrating their cargo and relying on the most competitive routes and ports; and the growth of maritime transport is maintained in 2018, with the ports of Algeciras, Valencia and Barcelona among the top 10 in Europe in container traffic.
Valencia port now has space for 7.5 million TEU and in 2018 the five million container traffic threshold will be surpassed. “Of the three important terminals in Valencia, two are saturated and, if we take into account the annual growth rate, reaching 85% occupancy would cost us six to eight years. At the moment we would reach the critical point of saturation”, explains the president of Autoridad Portuaria de Valencia (APV – Valenciaport, Port Authority of Valencia), Aurelio Martínez. The manager believes that there is an interest in investing and operating a new terminal, taking advantage of the fact that it has become a mixed platform – movement of imports and exports, and international transit. “If we had removed it three or four years ago, with a more recessive market, we would not have had any demand or anyone willing to invest,” says Martínez.
The environment is now more optimistic, so on November 23 the project for the extension was approved, in March 2019 the contest will be called and in summer the port is expected to be able to choose the company that will build and operate it. “We think that it will be awarded reasonably well, but if in the end there is no one to show up, obviously we will not do it, it will only go forward if there is a private investor,” Martínez says. That investor will assume the most expensive part, the equipment of the terminal, with a budget of €800 million ($907.3 million). In return, it will have a concession of between 35 and 50 years.
Valencia already has a dock shelter under which the fourth container terminal would be built. But it would be necessary to fill what is now water, compact the land, pour concrete and asphalt; operations that would cost 400 million ($453.7 million) and that would finance the port with its own resources. The terminal would have a capacity for other five million containers, with two kilometers of dock’s length.
Valencia has advanced but it is not the only port that considers possible extensions of its facilities. A few kilometers further north, the port of Barcelona, which underwent its major expansion from 2000 to 2014 – with an investment of €4 billion ($4.5 billion) – has begun preliminary studies for the construction of a third cargo terminal on its south dike. “We have to start thinking about it because the port works have to be planned well in advance,” sources at the entity say. The terminal managed by APM is very close to its full capacity and the occupancy level of the BEST terminal, managed by the Chinese company Hutchison, is close to 84%.
To the south, the port of Algeciras, leader in Spain, has about 37 hectares available, including public area. It has a pier of 680 metres in length to which an additional 130 metres will be added. In total, 810 metres in line with the quay of the semiautomatic terminal of the Isla Verde Exterior zone, known as Total Terminal International Algeciras (TTIA) and managed by a South Korean company. Cádiz port is also preparing its new master plan, which includes new extensions although, like Barcelona, it still lacks details because it is being prepared. The expansion plans of the port of Tangier, in Morocco, could alter this expansion.
Source: El País
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