The Port Authority invested EUR 42.9 million in 2021, with EUR 50.6 million of investment planned for 2022. The main works completed or in the pipeline have focused on gaining more surface area, given the existing demand for port land, and improving internal access to the port and port-town relations.
- Development works of the first phase of the Central Quay.
In November, the development of 203,000 m² of the first phase of the central quay was completed. This dock, which will be developed in stages according to demand, has a 1,120 m long berthing line and 362,000 m² of surface area, representing a total investment of EUR 112 million. This project was selected for funding by the European Commission within the framework of its 2014 “Connecting Europe Facility” call for proposals. Under the funding agreement, the European Commission will provide up to EUR 20.9 million, representing 20% of the eligible costs.
This new quay will be equipped with rail infrastructure and will also enable vessels to connect to the port’s power grid to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and noise while the ship is berthed, thereby improving the environmental performance of the vessels. This practice, known as “Onshore Power Supply”, also reduces vibrations on board and wear and tear on engines.
- Extension works of Dock AZ1
In September, work began on the extension of Dock AZ1, which will add a further 50,000 m² to the new surface area of the central quay, and provide a wharf of 251 linear metres. Investment in these works amounts to EUR 27.4 million, with a scheduled completion date for the beginning of 2023.
- Road access to ZAD 2
In 2021, a new internal road access was built to relieve traffic congestion at the entrance to the second phase of the Storage and Distribution Zone (ZAD). Investment amounted to EUR 4.2 million.
- Emergency Quay
It regard to prevention, at the end of the year, construction work was completed on an emergency quay, sheltered by the Punta Sollana dock, for the berthing of vessels that may be restricted in some way, e.g. mechanical breakdown or similar, and which prevents their safe passage. These works were carried out with a total budget of EUR 1.17 million.
- Filling works in the Deusto Canal
Twenty-two months after the works started, the filling works on the left bank of the Deusto Canal were completed in June 2021. The works were awarded by the Port Authority to the joint venture formed by Acciona Construcción and Altuna y Uría, following a unique contractual procedure through which the successful tenderer of the contract assumed the full cost of the execution of the filling works (in excess of EUR 20 million) and, in exchange, acquired the ownership of the new land generated, once they had been released from the public port domain. This land will form part of the urban area of Zorrotzaurre.
This action provided for a new surface area of around 50,000 m². Once all the necessary formalities had been completed, on 24 December the new plot of land was sold to the successful bidder, who then was in a position to proceed with the urban development and promotion of the building product foreseen in the Integrated Action AI-2 of the Special Urban Development Plan for the Zorrotzaurre Mixed Area.
- Improvements to the urban environment of Santurtzi
In May, the Port Authority of Bilbao and the Santurtzi Town Council signed an agreement to take forward a series of actions within the scope of port-town/city cooperation. These actions are linked to the improvement of the urban environment in various port areas and public access to the seafront. To carry out these actions, the Port Authority of Bilbao will contribute EUR 1 million annually, over the four years that the agreement is in force.
The private sector invests in extension works to attract more traffic, and in actions to improve competitiveness and environmental performance.
- Extension of a general cargo terminal
In April, the Port Authority awarded Consignaciones Toro y Betolaza 70,150 m² of surface area in the first phase of the central breakwater works. During this phase, EUR 5 million will be invested to expand the terminal for conventional and ro-ro cargo at Pier A6, with a new 21,600 m² warehouse.
- Storage of liquid bulk for the food trade
Six new storage tanks for bulk liquid foodstuffs, each one with a capacity of 2,000 m³, are being built at the terminal Depósitos Portuarios, S.A. (Deposa). With this expansion, the storage capacity of the terminal, spread over 37 tanks, will be in excess of 32,000 m³. Investment amounts to EUR 1 million and the works will be completed in 2022.
- LNG bunker terminal
In September, Repsol began the construction of an LNG bunkering terminal in the port of Bilbao. The project involves an investment of more than EUR 10 million and is co-funded by the European Commission through its CEF – Connecting Europe Facilities – Programme. This LNG filling station will supply the new Brittany Ferries LNG-powered vessels Salamanca and Santoña, which are scheduled to enter into service at the end of next month and in 2023, respectively.
- Extension of the wind energy plant
Haizea Wind Group, a world-leader in wind turbine manufacturing, will expand its facilities to be able to manufacture XXL monopiles, large steel structures used to fix wind turbines to the seabed.
Official administrative procedures for this expansion will begin this year, though the Group plans to implement this growth process over a period of several years. Though most of the expansion will be on land located within its current concession (corner AZ2 and AZ3, AZ2), the Group will later need additional port space for the storage of constructed parts, for which all administrative procedures required by law will be detailed and followed over the coming months, on the basis of an appropriate management of the public port domain.
With these planned investments, Haizea Wind will become the reference plant in Europe for monopiles, and the port of Bilbao will become the wind power hub of Southern Europe.
Turnover increases and low debt profile maintained
Turnover amounted to EUR 63.1 million (EUR 58.9 million in 2020), an increase of 7.1% (EUR 4.2 million) mostly attributable to the gradual recovery of port traffic.
Furthermore, the structural financial support measures included in the current Strategy Plan (EUR 4.4 million in the form of tax reductions: 10% reduction in the T3 goods tax and new valuation of port land and waters) have been consolidated. However, the extraordinary temporary financial support measures introduced in 2020 (EUR 2.5 million), granted under Royal Decree 26/2020 to partially mitigate the effects of the most difficult period for our users and companies, have not been repeated in 2021.
On another note, in the 2021 financial year, EUR 10 million of bank debt with the European Investment Bank was repaid early. As a result, the net bank debt at year-end stands at EUR 12.3 million, equivalent to 0.4 times EBITDA, thus complying with the provisions of the Port Authority’s financial framework.
The financial autonomy of the organisation enables it to maintain a low debt profile, which in turn enables essential infrastructure to be developed and significant investments to be made in terms of environmental sustainability, intermodality, innovation, digitalisation and port-town/city cooperation, which will soon take a qualitative step forward.
Cash flow (EBITDA) amounted to EUR 30.8 million.
Finally, EUR 4.7 million were received in the form of grants, of which EUR 4.1 million was from the European Commission under the 2015 Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) aid programme. These latter funds correspond to the work on the first phase of the Central Quay, whilst EUR 500,000 correspond to the Recovery and Resilience Facility for funding environmental sustainability and energy projects.