Five presidents of the Port of Bilbao shared their experiences and reflections this morning at a round table organised by the Association of Shipping Agents and Stevedores of the Port of Bilbao (ACBE) and sponsored by the Port Authority of Bilbao. The participants, namely Pedro Ruiz de Alegría (1988-1989), José Ángel Corres (1996-2009), José Ramón de La Fuente (2009-2013), Asier Atutxa (2013-2018) and Ricardo Barkala (2018 to the present day), have all played a leading role in the growth and development of the port over the last forty years or so. Iñaki Garcinuño, president of Grupo Gráfico Garcinuño, former president of CEBEK and board member of the Port Authority of Bilbao for eight years, chaired the event.
Opening the event, Virginia Navarro, the current president of the ACBE, described it as “the first of several planned during the year to commemorate the centenary” of the Association, and expressed her satisfaction at “seeing representatives from all the links in the logistics chain: operators, auxiliary companies, institutions, trade unions, security forces and the media”. “Your presence here,” she added, “is clear proof of the cross-cutting nature of our activity. We all count, we are all necessary, we all cooperate and we all contribute to the development of this great driving force of the Basque Country that is the Port of Bilbao.”
In the course of the round table, the presidents discussed, amongst other issues, the expansion of the port towards the Outer Abra and its close relationship with the urban regeneration of Bilbao and its metropolitan area; its effect on the
riverside towns; the different legal and institutional frameworks under which the port authorities and the rest of the port community have lived; the economic and social impact it has had on its hinterland, and the way the shipping and stevedoring sector, and its operating companies, have developed over time.