Turnover amounted to EUR 64.9 million, compared to EUR 63.1 million in 2021, up 2.8%. This increase of EUR 1.8 million is the result of the recovery of port traffic as, in order to support competitiveness, port charges have not been increased despite average inflation of 8.4% in 2022 and 3.1% in 2021 (data from the Spanish National Statistics Institute). Consequently, the increase in turnover is solely due to the gradual recovery of activity, with no changes in prices for users and customers of the port.
Debt with the European Investment Bank stood at EUR 45.3 million and liquidity at EUR 37.2 million, with bank debt net of cash amounting to EUR 8.1 million (equivalent to 0.3 times EBITDA). Cash and cash equivalents (EBITDA) stood at EUR 29.1 million. The company maintains an adequate debt profile, having invested around EUR 1 billion over the last 30 years. This financial autonomy will enable it to make new investments in the fields of energy transition, digitalisation, infrastructure, intermodality, innovation and port-city activities.
New land, call for tender for a new container terminal and port-city activities.
Investment by the Port Authority of Bilbao in 2022 in these areas amounted to EUR 34.6 million, with planned investment figures of EUR 43.6 million in 2023. Many of the actions planned are geared towards strengthening the Atlantic axis and generating activity in the Cantabrian hinterland. Prominent among these actions is the creation of land, given the demand from the business world to locate in the port and/or to expand existing facilities in the port.
In this sense, extension works on the AZ1 Dock will be completed in the spring, providing 50,000 m² of new land and a 251-metre berthing line. Required investment amounts to EUR 27.4 million. The paving works will be put out to tender this year and will be completed by the end of 2023.
In January, the Port Authority launched a public tender for the award of a concession for the construction and operation of a maritime container terminal on the central breakwater. The deadline for submitting bids is the end of April, and the award is expected to be announced in the summer.
To improve accessibility, eleven new lay-bys came into service in October on the N-240 road between the towns of Zeanuri and Bedia, going towards Bilbao. This was made possible through a collaboration agreement signed between the Provincial Council of Bizkaia and the Port Authority, to improve the accessibility of a road with a high intensity of heavy traffic. Investment costs for this project, funded by the Port Authority of Bilbao, amounted to EUR 2.7 million. Likewise, in December 2022, the works to improve the N-644 road as it passes by the Iberdrola thermal power station intake in Santurtzi were awarded. The works will be completed this year with a budget of EUR 2.1 million.
A stand-out initiative in the field of port-city relations is the provision of EUR 1 million, over four years, for improving the urban environment in the town of Santurtzi. The first such project, which started in January of this year, is the construction of a new footbridge over the ADIF railway tracks to improve accessibility and safety.
Innovative projects in the field of sustainability: dock electrification, PV power plant, sewerage system, vessels and decarbonisation hub.
With the aim of making Bilbao a more sustainable and, at the same time, more competitive port, the Port Authority will tender in the coming months the first phase of the BilbOPS project for the electrification of docks to enable vessels to connect to the power grid and thus switch off their auxiliary diesel engines. The first electrified docks will come into service in 2025. This project includes a 4.2 MW PV power plant for self-consumption purposes. The planned budget is EUR 52.5 million.
Another major sustainability project is the improvement of the sewerage system of some docks, as a result of a collaboration agreement signed between the Basque Water Agency (URA), the Bilbao Bizkaia Water Consortium and the Port Authority. The planned overall investment of around EUR 18 million will be covered jointly by URA and the Port Authority. The first of the three phases is about to start and the second is about to be awarded.
With regard to shipping companies, Brittany Ferries and Finnlines have opted to include more environmentally friendly vessels on their routes. Brittany Ferries has incorporated the LNG-powered ferry-cruise Salamanca into its line with the United Kingdom, and will soon do the same with the Galicia on its service to Ireland. Similarly, Finnlines, of the Grimaldi Group, has added three of the most efficient ships in the world to its service with northern Europe and the Baltic, with the latest generation of electronically controlled engines and an exhaust gas purification system to reduce sulphur and particulate emissions. The vessels are equipped with lithium batteries and solar panels.
Two other private sector developments within the port, both taken forward by Petronor/Repsol, are the commissioning of the first terminal for the supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the port of Bilbao, and the ceremony last May to lay the first stone of the works to create a decarbonisation hub. In the first case, investment amounts to EUR 10 million and is co-funded by the European Commission through the CEF-Connecting Europe Facility Programme. In the second case, the facilities will include a plant for the production of synthetic fuels, the construction work on which will last for the next two years and is expected to involve an investment of EUR 103 million.
Expansion of terminals for renewable energy components, breakbulk and agri-food products.
Haizea Wind Group is expanding its facilities by 57,283 m² to enable it to manufacture XXL monopiles, large steel structures used to anchor wind turbines to the seabed. The project includes the construction of warehouses and the fitting out of storage areas for the parts manufactured at its plant to be exported by sea. The company anticipates an investment of around EUR 150 million in warehouses, machinery, etc., with a multi-annual timeframe (2022-2025).
For its part, Consignaciones Toro y Betolaza has expanded its terminal for conventional and ro-ro cargo on Docks A6 and A5, which includes the construction of a new warehouse. Total investment has amounted to EUR 5 million.
Finally, the terminal Depósitos Portuarios, S.A. (Deposa) has also invested EUR 1 million in the construction of six new storage tanks for agri-food and agri-fuel liquid bulk, each with a capacity of 2,000 m³. Four more tanks are scheduled to be built in 2023.